Red Bull Ring
British driver Gary Paffett picked up a further Championship point at this weekend’s DTM race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Following a rain-soaked qualifying session that was interrupted by red flags due to excess standing water and risks of aquaplaning, Paffett pulled together a lap that saw him start P8 on the grid. It was one of the tightest qualifying sessions of the season to date with P3 to P11 separated by just two tenths of a second.
Paffett made a good start, maintaining P8 into the first corner and getting right up onto the back of seventh placed Scheider. Fourth placed Mortara spun heading into turn one which forced Paffett to take evasive action; allowing Green to sneak through.
Nursing an issue with the car’s balance, Paffett’s overall race pace was affected during the first half of the race. This allowed eighth placed Spengler to catch and overtake Paffett for P7 on lap eight and Van de Zande to pass him four laps later for P8.
Opting for a late first pit stop, Paffett was running P5 by the time he came in for his stop on lap 15. A swift change of tyres and refueling meant he rejoined the field in P11 having jumped Van der Zande during the stop.
After all the drivers had pitted once, Paffett was running in P8; just 0.2 seconds behind Scheider. On the second set of tyres Paffett was able to better drive around the issues with the car and as a result his lap times improved steadily.
On lap 27, Paffett made his second and final pit stop. Having left his pitstop late he pitted in P3 and rejoined in P8.
In the closing laps of the race and on his third set of tyres, Paffett’s car was handling better and he was able to put Scheider under pressure for seventh position. There were however not enough laps left in the race to catch and pass Scheider, so Paffett crossed the finish line after 38 laps in P8; 0.3 seconds behind seventh place.
I knew it was going to be tough to make much head way in the race
“Starting from P8 I knew it was going to be tough to make much head way in the race. Qualifying was extremely tight and although it would have been good to start higher up the field, the times were so close that I could easily have started much further down;” commented Gary Paffett.
“I really struggled with an issue with the car’s balance today. We made some adjustments to the car just before the race but unfortunately it made the problems worse. On the second and third set tyres I was able to get more performance from the car but we had lost too much time at the start of the race so it would have been hard to finish any higher than P8;” continued Paffett.
“On the positive side, we picked up a Championship point and the car was much improved from the last race. We now have some more work to do ahead of the next race so we can secure some solid points for the Championship;” concluded Paffett. Gary Paffett heads to the Lausitz Ring, Germany for round four of the DTM Championship on June 19th. Gary is currently ninth in the Championship with four Championship points.
Source: Gary Paffett website