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DTM

Ice cold in the sweltering heat – Gary Paffett claims pole at Norisring

Nuremberg. Summerly temperatures of around 35 degrees turned qualifying for the fifth DTM season round at the Norisring to a hot battle. Points’ leader Gary Paffett remained the coolest with his DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. The Brit completed his lap of the 2.3 kilometres long street circuit in Nuremberg in 49.139 seconds and will be starting from first place on the grid into Sunday’s race. The qualifying winner said about the 111th pole position for Mercedes-Benz: “That was close. I am totally happy, a perfect day. Tomorrow, I want my third victory of the season. Driving safely is not an option, I will give everything to win.” For Paffett, it is the tenth pole of his career and the second of this year.

Paffett’s fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green completed the clean sweep of the front row for Mercedes-Benz by qualifying second fastest on Saturday afternoon. The Brit was only 0.032 seconds down. Brazilian BMW driver Augusto Farfus celebrated his third place like victory in qualifying: “For me, third place on the grid feel like being on pole. I am overjoyed. The performance of the car was just great. Even for me, as a Brazilian, it was too hot in the car today.”

Two times’ DTM champion Mattias Ekström was the best-placed Audi driver on Saturday. With his Audi A5 Coupé, the Swede ended up fourth in qualifying. “Of course, going into Q4 as the fastest driver, being only fourth on the grid at the end is very disappointing. But I am still on the second row of the grid and from there, anything can happen”, said Ekström.

Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes-Benz), who is celebrating his 37th birthday today, didn’t get any presents in qualifying. He was just 57 thousandths of a second short of making it into the fourth and final heat of the shoot-out qualifying. The German will be starting fifth. Reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk from Rosenheim will be lining up alongside Schumacher in sixth place with his BMW M3 DTM. His Canadian fellow BMW driver Bruno Spengler was seventh. German Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz), Brit Andy Priaulx (BMW) and Italian Edoardo Mortara (Audi), who celebrated his maiden pole and his first race win in the most popular international touring car series in the fourth DTM round at Spielberg, round out the top ten.

The two Audi drivers Miguel Molina from Spain and two times’ DTM champion Timo Scheider had a setback. Classified 20th and 21st respectively, qualifying was over for them after the first heat already.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: dtmmedia

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.”