2005 DTM: 7th round at NÃ¼rburgring Gary Paffett Third ahead of Mika HÃ¤kkinen and Bernd Schneider Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) finished the seventh round of the 2005 DTM at the NÃ¼rburgring in third place. After 43 laps and...
2005 DTM: 7th round at Nürburgring
Gary Paffett Third ahead of Mika Häkkinen and Bernd Schneider
Gary Paffett (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes) finished the seventh round of the 2005 DTM at the Nürburgring in third place. After 43 laps and a drive-through penalty, Paffett came home 4.5sec behind winner Mattias Ekström and Tom Kristensen (both Audi A4 DTM). Mika Häkkinen (Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes) ended up fourth ahead of Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes).
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) and Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes) finished seventh and eighth respectively so that all five new AMG-Mercedes C-Class cars ended up in the points. With four races still to go, Paffett is now second overall with 50 points behind Ekström with 51. A crowd of 112,000 attended the race over the weekend, an all-time record for DTM races at the Nürburgring.
Due to a heavy rain shower just before the start the field began the race behind the Safety Car which moved into the pits after the first lap. Paffett started from his fourth pole position of the season and took the lead ahead of Häkkinen, Ekström and Schneider.
On lap nine, Schneider came in for his first compulsory pit stop, followed by Häkkinen and Paffett on laps 10 and 11. They resumed in the same order: Paffett ahead of Häkkinen, Ekström and Schneider. Gary now posted a series of fastest laps and opened a small gap ahead of the field.
On lap 26 Paffett came in for his second stop. Häkkinen pitted on lap 27 and resumed immediately behind Ekström. At the beginning of lap 29, Häkkinen tried to pass the Audi at the end of the front straight, but ran wide and lost one place. At the end of the second round of pit stops Paffett led ahead of Ekström, Kristensen, Häkkinen and Schneider.
However, Paffett had crossed the white line at the pit lane exit and therefore received a drive-through penalty for which he came in again on lap 31. Gary was now fourth. He overtook Häkkinen on the final lap and came home third ahead of the Finn and Schneider.
Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes) finished seventh ahead of Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes).
Gary Paffett, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes, third:
"It could have been a perfect result, because we have been fastest both in wet and dry conditions. For me and our team the third place is disappointing. Crossing the white line was my mistake and I apologize to everybody who worked hard for a better outcome."
Mika Häkkinen, Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes, fourth:
"I am satisfied having finished a race after three retirements. However, the fourth place is quite disappointing after we were second in qualifying. We all had expected more, because we had the speed to achieve a better result."
Bernd Schneider, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes, fifth:
"I started well and was able to put pressure on Ekström immediately. After my first pit stop I suffered from severe understeer. We will have to investigate the reason."
Jean Alesi, AMG-Mercedes, seventh:
"Starting behind the Safety Car I got stuck behind Marcel Fässler who accelerated really late. Therefore I lost contact to the cars in front of us."
Jamie Green, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes, eighth:
"In the beginning I got stuck behind Christian Abt and lost valuable time. When I got past him, the gap behind the cars in front was too big to catch up."
Bruno Spengler, Mercedes Second Hand Cars, was the best driver with a 2004 AMG-Mercedes C-Class and came home 15th. Alexandros Margaritis, Mücke Motorsport AMG-Mercedes, finished 16th ahead of his team mate Stefan Mücke, who received a drive-through penalty for overtaking during the Safety Car period. He had passed Rinaldo Capello (Audi A4 DTM) who had spun.
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"A small mistake of Gary Paffett with a big effect cost us the race win today. During the last third of the race, Gary crossed the white line at the pit lane exit after his second pit stop. This was no advantage for him but will be penalized as everybody knows."
"I am very satisfied with our speed, pit stops and strategy. Also Mika Häkkinen performed well; he was capable of winning, too. Our balance with five victories out of seven races is OK. The sixth win was possible but - see above. The fight for the championship is still exciting with Gary being one point behind the leader."