Heartbeat final in Oschersleben DTM round 63,000 spectators watched an action-packed racing weekend in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. With his 2006-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class, Briton Gary Paffett won as the result of an optimal pit stop ...
Heartbeat final in Oschersleben DTM round
63,000 spectators watched an action-packed racing weekend in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. With his 2006-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class, Briton Gary Paffett won as the result of an optimal pit stop strategy in the region near Magdeburg. Thus, Paffett won in his second DTM round after returning from Formula 1, his tenth victory in the most popular international touring car series.
"Just great. Today, I had an excellent start, a brilliant strategy, perfect pit stops and a clear run almost all the time", the 26-year old explained. The drivers in second and third place were both on the DTM podium for the first time. Paul di Resta (Mercedes-Benz) from Scotland confirmed his strong performance from the Hockenheim season opener by finishing second with his two-year old car. Third place went to German Mike Rockenfeller with his year-old Audi A4 DTM.
The second DTM round of the season ended with a bang. Behind winner Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta, there was a fierce battle for third place going on for many laps between Mika Hakkinen with the AMG Mercedes C-Class and newcomer Mike Rockenfeller. Until lap 43, the former Formula 1 world champion kept 23-year old Rockenfeller at bay. On the penultimate lap, "Rocky" started an attack and managed to get past Hakkinen. The two slightly tangled and the right rear tyre of the Finn's car got damaged, so that he had to come in for an additional pit stop. Hakkinen dropped back to 17th and thus lost valuable points for the championship standings.
The two German Audi drivers Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk came home in fourth and fifth place. Reigning DTM champion Bernd Schneider had clutch problems at the start and dropped back to the end of the field. Eventually, the Mercedes-Benz driver still scored three championship points. For the winner of the opening round at Hockenheim, the race at Oschersleben also got off to a bad start. Mattias Ekstrom jumped the start with his Audi A4 DTM and was given a drive-through penalty. The Swede still made it home in seventh place. Alexandros Margaritis scored one point in eighth place with the AMG Mercedes C-Class. Fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green was also given a drive-through penalty after a collision with Vanina Ickx and came home eleventh. Canadian Bruno Spengler got a severe setback, having had to retire after only 15 laps due to problems with the power steering.
In the championship standings, three drivers are tied in the lead after the second round of the season. Mattias Ekstrom, Paul di Resta and Martin Tomczyk all have twelve points. Today's winner Paffett is fourth with eleven points. The next DTM race is taking place at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz on May 20.
Gary Paffett (winner, Laureus AMG Mercedes): "Just great. Today, I had an excellent start, a brilliant strategy, perfect pit stops and a clear run almost all the time I knew that we could win when we would have a perfect day and today it was."
Paul di Resta (2nd place, Jawa4u.de AMG Mercedes): "Being second in the second race is just incredible. Already now, I have achieved more than I would even have dreamt of. In the first race, I could already have been on the podium, but back then, it didn't work out. Today, it did."
Mike Rockenfeller (3rd place, Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "This is just a dream, I am overjoyed. The race was great fun. Throughout the race, I had a great battle that was hard, but fair. Too bad that Mika had a puncture in the end. There will be a party tonight."
Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug: "I am very happy with this race. The drivers have shown here what they can do. Now, just like in Formula 1, we have three drivers leading the championship with 12 points each. That shows that we are on the right way. However, I have to say that I don't really understand the penalties that were given today. I don't want to criticise Mike Rockenfeller, that was a normal overtaking manoeuvre in a race. But either there are the same penalties for everybody or none at all. I am a little bit uncertain about this, because such penalties can have a big effect at the end of the day. But eventually, the joy about our performance, about the great race and the equal level in the championship prevails."
Audi-Motorsportchef Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: "It was a great and fair race throughout. Things were working out well for us, the pace and strategy dominated in the race. We have created regulations that allowed for today's result and the current situation in the championship, we are on the right way. Of course, I would like to emphasize Mike Rockenfeller's performance. He did a great race without any mistakes. His speed was great and he showed a competitive spirit until the end. We will see an interesting and exciting championship with many different winners in the races to come."