Gary Paffett press release
SENSATIONAL DRIVE THROUGH THE FIELD FROM P18 TO P4 BY PAFFETT AT OSCHERSLEBEN
British DTM driver Gary Paffett stormed through the field from the back of the grid to finish in fourth position at the latest round of the 2011 DTM Championship in Oschersleben, Germany. Having been unable to set a single lap time in Saturday’s qualifying session due to an engine misfire problem, Paffett lined his THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class up for Sunday’s race in P18.
Reminiscent of the last race at Brands Hatch, heavy rain fell just prior to the start of the race resulting in the field doing two warm up laps and the race distance being shortened by one lap. Paffett made a solid start, but at the end of the first lap was hit by Scheider which caused his car to spin and lose around 15 seconds of time.
Despite the tricky conditions and with cars going off all around, Paffett kept his nose clean and made his way through the field. By the end of lap three Paffett had moved up to P15 and by lap ten he was up to P12 and less than a second behind 11th placed driver Engel. On lap 12 Paffett made his first pit stop of the afternoon and rejoined in P13; 2.5 seconds behind Rockenfeller. As the rest of the field began to make their stops, Gary continued to climb through the pack and by lap 21 was up to P10.
On lap 23 Paffett made a move on Green for P9 and a few laps later was up to P8 behind Vietoris. Choosing to leave his second pit stop as late as possible, Paffett was up to P2 and 0.4 seconds off the race leader before pitting for the second time on lap 36. Following a seamless stop by the HWA Mercedes-Benz AMG team, Paffett rejoined the track in P4 behind Mortara with nine laps to go.
A well executed pit stop strategy had meant that Paffett was able to leapfrog both Vietoris and Rockefeller in the pits. The last set of tyres weren’t working as well as in previous stints which meant Paffett struggled with grip and was lapping 1.5 seconds slower than on previous sets of tyres.
Paffett maintained his fourth position but, due to the lack of grip, was unable to make a late charge for a podium finish and crossed the line in P4, securing five Championship points. “I am really happy with fourth place today considering where we started the race. The conditions were really tricky and given that the race was the first time we had run in wet conditions, the first part of the race was all about keeping the car on the track.
Unfortunately I was hit into a spin by Scheider which is a shame as I am confident I would have finished the race in P2 if I hadn’t lost so much time from the spin;” commented Gary Paffett. “The car has been working really well all weekend and it was a really enjoyable race passing lots of cars on my way through the field.
I struggled for grip with the last set of tyres which meant I wasn’t able to push in the closing stages of the race, but I am pleased to be going away with another five Championship points. The middle part of the Championship table remains tight with just nine points separating fourth to ninth position so in the final two races of the season I will be fighting hard to climb back up the standings;” continued Paffett. Gary Paffett heads to Valencia, Spain round nine of the DTM Championship on October 2nd. Gary is currently ninth in the Championship with twenty Championship points.