Season-opening winner Gary Paffett returns to the fray The winner of this year's season-opening DTM race on the Hockenheimring is back with a vengeance. Briton Gary Paffett won the fifth race of the DTM on the Norisring in Nuremberg in emphatic...
Season-opening winner Gary Paffett returns to the fray
The winner of this year's season-opening DTM race on the Hockenheimring is back with a vengeance. Briton Gary Paffett won the fifth race of the DTM on the Norisring in Nuremberg in emphatic fashion in his AMG-Mercedes C-class in front of a record 132,000 spectators. The 23-year-old edged team mate and defending champion Christijan Albers into second after 72 laps around the 2.3 kilometre-long circuit. Bernd Schneider (AMG-Mercedes C-class) swooped into third place. Audi secured the subsequent three berths.
Swede Mattias Ekström (Audi A4 DTM) not only battled his way into fourth position from a ninth start place, but also picked up crucial points towards the overall championship. Martin Tomczyk and Tom Kristensen rounded off the Audi trio. Opel drivers Peter Dumbreck and Manuel Reuter snatched the remaining points with positions seven and eight.
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes C-class) and Timo Scheider (Opel Vectra GTS V8) were particularly unlucky. Pole sitter Alesi braked too hard when lying in third position and rammed into the pile of tyres. He finished the race in 10th position. Timo Scheider had even worse luck: on his way into the points like Alesi, a defective cardan shaft then ended the race he had started in fifth position.
"Half-way champion" Christijan Albers now heads the overall standings on 42 points ahead of the next championship race on the Nürburgring on August 1. Mattias Ekström is just three points behind, while Norisring winner Gary Paffett has caught back up with the front of the field on 25 points.
Gary Paffett (1st place, AMG-Mercedes C-class):
"It was a great race with a good start for me. I tried not to push too hard today in order not to put an inordinate amount of pressure on the brakes and tyres. My car was excellent. There were no problems whatsoever, although I once took a pretty hefty knock coming out of the chicane."
Mattias Ekström (4th place, Audi A4 DTM):
"I'm very satisfied with the result because when I woke up this morning I would never have thought that I'd only relinquish three points in the overall standings to Christijan. My first pit stop was not that great. Despite that we got the utmost out of the car. I'm looking forward to the next races, where the nature of the track should better suit the Audi A4."
Peter Dumbreck (7th place, Opel Vectra GTS V8):
"I had a very good start and had to take a certain amount of risk in order to advance. That's why I chose the line on the outside lane. I then held off a bit during the first lap so that there wasn't too much pressure on the tyres and the brakes. Our speed was particularly on new tyres absolutely okay. But the race was also a battle of equipment: I especially had a lot of trouble with the brakes."
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi Motorsport Director:
"We got the most out of the results from qualifying. If Christian Abt hadn't had the misfortune of a defective cardan shaft we would even have had four Audis in the points. In that sense we pulled off a reasonable result in front of this great backdrop. Mattias Ekström was able to secure crucial points for the championship with his fourth place. That's why I can look back positively and optimistically into the future."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director:
"I'm of course extremely satisfied with this result. Congratulations to the HWA team and our drivers. But we did approach the whole thing very realistically: it's not our way to expect to win. We always show respect towards the task. It's a pity that Jean Alesi lost his podium place. Overall it was a great race weekend in front of an impressive backdrop of spectators."
Volker Strycek Opel Sport Director:
"We are pleased that two cars with Peter Dumbreck and Manuel Reuter managed to drive into the points. It was otherwise a race to be forgotten: Heinz-Harald Frentzen took out his team mate Marcel Fässler in a spin. We lost two cars due to a technical defect. Timo Scheider's defective cardan shaft was a particular shame as he was well on his way to a certain fourth place thanks to good speed and a good strategy. That aside, the event here on the Norisring was superb...the spectators were world-class."