Second season victory: Paffett wins home race at Brands Hatch
Fawkham. At the moment, he is the man to beat in the DTM: with his DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, Briton Gary Paffett dominantly won the third round of the year at Brands Hatch (GB). At this season’s first round of the most popular international touring car series outside of Germany, the 31-year old scored a lights-to-flag win in his home race. “This was a great race, everything was perfect. Although my start wasn’t that good, I remained in front and was able to bring victory home without any problems. It would be great when things go on like this”, said Paffett, who already won the season opener at Hockenheim and now has 19 DTM race wins to his tally.
Bruno Spengler was also overjoyed having crossed the finish line after 97 laps to finish second with his BMW M3 DTM. The Canadian looked set to drive an undisputed second place home until ten laps before the end. Then, a front splitter broke on his car and the 28-year old had to defend his place from Mike Rockenfeller, who was behind him with the Audi A5 DTM. “I had a good race and tried to overtake Gary, but he didn’t make any mistakes. After the front splitter was broken, I lost downforce and I had to be careful. That enabled Rockenfeller to put me under pressure. Fortunately, it still was enough for me”, said Spengler. With 43 points, he is closest behind points’ leader Paffett, who is leading tzhe drivers’ standings with 68 points. Mattias Ekström (Audi) is third with 35 points.
With his Audi A5 DTM, Mike Rockenfeller made up one position at the start. The 28-year old German successfully defended his position against the attacks from reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk (Audi) and managed to score a podium finish by coming home third. Rockenfeller commented after the race: “The result is very important for Audi and gives a boost to the entire team. At the end, I still tried to get past Bruno, but I didn’t want to risk everything, because the points for third place were very important to me.”
Swede Mattias Ekström (Audi) finished fifth behind Tomczyk. Christian Vietoris dropped back from second to ninth after a poor start. The Mercedes-Benz driver fought back and took the chequered flag in sixth place. Spaniard Miguel Molina (Audi), Briton Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) and the two Audi drivers Edoardo Mortara (IT) and Filipe Albuquerque (PT) rounded out the top ten.
In total, 27,000 fans attended the racing weekend in Kent County in the south-east of Great Britain. The next round takes place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, June 3rd.
Norbert Haug, head of motorsport Mercedes-Benz: “Now that was a really thrilling race and I am really delighted with this victory. It would be great when we can continue this series. Gary split up the race the way he needed it. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a walk in the park, because one has to remain incredibly focussed. After his poor start, Christian Vietoris has made up positions and finished sixth. That is something you first have to achieve at a track like this.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW motorsport director: “Bruno had a great start and moved up into second place. He put pressure on and was able to keep this up. After his front splitter was broken, we had problems with the aerodynamics of the vehicle. But Bruno did a great job in bringing his second place home. That was a very strong performance! The second podium after three races already is not what we had expected beforehand.”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, head of motorsport Audi: “Today, we have made the best out of our possibilities. Especially Mike Rockenfeller and Miguel Molina were very quick in the race. The podium reflects the current situation in the DTM: all three manufacturers are competing at an identical level. It is a matter of tenths, hundredths and thousandths. Rocky’s third place gives the entire team an additional boost. Mattias Ekström has moved up to third place in the standings.”