DTM Driver Gary Paffett Takes Top Mercedes Finish and Fourth Overall at Oschersleben

Words John Clark | September 19, 2011
Bruno Spengler – in second place and on course to take the championship lead fails to finish race at at Oschersleben
Words John Clark September 19, 2011

Gary Paffett, driver of the THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class, placed the highest among all Mercedes-Benz drivers during the eighth race of the season at Oschersleben. Following technical problems in qualifying, the British driver started 18th on the grid, moving up 14 places during the race to finish in fourth place overall.

Christian Vietoris, Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class driver, took fifth place, scoring four points for the first time in his DTM career. After being moved back to 17th on the grid, he improved by twelve places to finish fifth.

Driver of the GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class, Maro Engel, finished seventh, and so was also in the points. David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished tenth and eleventh respectively.

Bruno Spengler, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class driver, retired on lap 43 with a technical problem. Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) also failed to finish his 40th DTM race. Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) were forced to retire during the race’s early stages.

Across the race weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a total of 65,000 spectators visited the Oschersleben circuit to watch the DTM race.

Race summary

The start: Rain began to fall about an hour before the start of the race, so drivers posted two parade laps in order to adjust to the wet track conditions. The race distance has been shortened by one lap to 49 laps. Bruno Spengler moves into the lead from second place on the grid. Ralf Schumacher goes up three positions into P4.

Lap 3: Susie Stoddart retires after a spin.

Lap 4: Spengler leads the field. Schumacher in fourth place. Jamie Green, Renger van der Zande and Christian Vietoris currently in positions seven to nine.

Lap 5: Renger van der Zande forced to retire after an exit onto the grass as a result of a collision.

Lap 7: Mattias Ekström (Audi) overtakes Spengler and is in the lead.

Lap 10: Schumacher retires after a spin and a collision with Filipe Albuquerque (Audi).

Lap 12: The pit stop window is now open. Gary Paffett is the first C-Class driver to make a mandatory pit stop.

Lap 17: Jamie Green and Christian Vietoris come in for their first pit stop at the same time.

Lap 22: Gary Paffett moves up one position into eighth place. Vietoris, Paffett and Green in places seven to nine.

Lap 23: Green pits for his second mandatory pit stop.

Lap 26: First pit stop for Maro Engel.

Lap 27: Spengler pits for the first time and reemerges in P2.

Lap 30: Spengler pits for second time.

Lap 36: Gary Paffett comes in for his second mandatory pit stop and reemerges in fourth place.

Lap 43: Spengler retires due to a technical problem.

Final lap: After 45 laps and a total distance of 166.320 km, Gary Paffett is the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in fourth position at the eighth race of the season in Oschersleben. The race was ended after the maximum duration of 70 minutes, because of the heavy rain. Christian Vietoris was fifth, securing his first DTM points. Maro Engel in P7 also finishes in the points.

Comments after the race:

Gary Paffett (AMG Mercedes C THOMAS SABO-Class) – fourth:

“I’m very satisfied with fourth place considering that I started from 18th position. Before the race, I hadn’t expected to be the best-placed C-Class driver. The conditions were very difficult, just like at Brands Hatch, and the race was very chaotic at times, which helped me to make good so many places. The car’s performance was also excellent. If I hadn’t spun on the first turn, I could possibly have come home before Martin Tomczyk. I’m very sorry for Bruno and his DNF, but all is not lost – the title race is not yet decided.”

Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) – fifth:

“I’ve finally achieved my first points in the DTM. My team did a super job – they were faultless. We’ve had the speed plenty of times before, but today we were able to convert that into points. The rain suited me, because I like driving in challenging conditions. Now I’m hoping to rack up some more points in the last couple of races.”

Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) – seventh:

“More would definitely have been possible than a seventh place. Oliver Jarvis gave Jamie a shove, which then made him drive into me. That caused me to spin – but for that I would certainly have finished further up the field. The car worked very well. The team have done a good job today, and our strategy was the right one.”

David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 10th:

“It was an action-packed race here today, and the weather conditions were far from easy. One minute, I was making good progress up the field, then I dropped back again – in the end tenth place is a reasonable result.”

Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 11th:

“The first lap was very eventful – four cars spun in front of me. Oliver Jarvis forced me over to the outside, causing me to hit Maro. My C-Class was damaged slightly and I no longer had the speed to keep up with the race leaders. An error on the first turn cost me more time, but unfortunately, I simply wasn’t fast enough.”

Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) – retired:

“It was just bad luck – nothing you can do. Unfortunately, something suddenly went wrong with the front of the car, and then it wasn’t as drivable as at the start. We don’t yet know exactly what the problem was. I tried to keep going, because there still might have been a chance of securing some points, but I had to retire. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not the end of the world. There are still two races to go and we’re certainly not about to give up. There’s still plenty to fight for.”

Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) – retired:

“Conditions were very difficult. We had a problem with the rear axle, but at the same time, we had to drive on the limit in order not to drop too far back and lose connection with the rest of the field. The rear wheels locked up going into the first turn. That shouldn’t really happen, but sometimes does in these circumstances – too bad. Martin Tomczyk was generally a bit faster than me, but under normal circumstances wouldn’t have got past me. I don’t actually know what went on in the collision with Filipe Albuquerque. He made contact with my rear off-side, but I didn’t really notice, because I was focused on what was happening in front of me.”

Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) – retired:

“I’m very disappointed, because there was a real chance of some points today. I had a very good start and was lying seventh. Conditions were tricky, but the car felt good. After contact with another driver, I slid off onto the grass and crashed into the wall.”

Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) – retired:

“Sadly, my race was over far too soon. In the difficult conditions I misbraked, skidding off into the gravel. Overall, driving today wasn’t all that easy. Now I’m just looking forward to the next race.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

“Bruno was on course to secure the championship lead when he was lying second. Had he finished in that position, he would’ve gone into the lead at the top of the table. But a problem with the front end of the car – which we still have to investigate – prevented him. We now have to make good a nine-point deficit in Valencia und Hockenheim.”