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News: DTM Race Results

Hockenheim II (GER) Hockenheim II (GER)
Race 1: 9th Race 2: 4th

DTM Race Results
Paffett perseveres for points in the season finale

Posted 17th October 2017

Gary Paffett recovered from two difficult qualifying sessions to finish in the points in both of the weekend’s races at Hockenheim in the ninth, and final, round of the season.

Heading into the weekend, Gary looked to build on his distinguished record at the circuit and kicked off the weekend in strong fashion by finishing the first practice session of the weekend up in 5th place and just three-tenths off the fastest man, Mike Rockenfeller.

With Audi looking like the team to beat at the German circuit, Gary and the Mercedes team knew they would have to be on the top of their game if they were to better the Four Rings.

Saturday

The circuit was drenched in sunshine for Saturday’s action at Hockenheim and free practice saw Gary finish the session in 11th place as the team focused on its race pace – a feature of Gary’s that has been his strongest all season.

Qualifying again saw a tightly contested session between the 18 drivers as eight-tenths separated the entire field at Hockenheim. Posting a 1:30.958 lap time. Gary finished the session in 11th place but knew his pace advantage would be in the race, not over one-lap.

For the first race of the weekend, Gary didn’t get the best start off the line and came under pressure from the BMW of Bruno Spengler as the grid hit the first corner. As Spengler tried to squeeze himself down the inside of Gary, the Fitbit-sponsored driver kept his foot to the floor and the pair went side by side into the second corner.

Going deep into turn two, Gary pulled off a great move to keep Spengler behind him and flew around the outside of Mattias Ekstrom to move himself up to 10th place. Heading into the heavy braking zone at the hairpin, Gary took to the inside and was boxed out by the slow-moving Nico Mueller. This allowed Mattias Ekstrom to gain the position back on Gary but the pair had not stopped fighting at this point.

Running wheel to wheel with Ekstrom, Gary then went around the outside of Ekstrom at the Mercedes grandstand to retake 10th place in a clean and respectful overtake that miraculously saw the pair avoid contact.

Now on the back of Marco Wittmann, Gary began unsettling the German driver as he searched for a way through. Heading into the sixth lap of the race, Gary got fantastic traction out of the second corner and, heading down the Parabolika, managed to sail past Wittmann and into 9thplace before they had reached the hairpin.

Managing his tyres through the first half of the race, Gary eventually came into the pits on the seventeenth lap and his 7.8 second pitstop saw him rejoin the race just ahead of Mercedes stablemate Lucas Auer. With Auer on tyres that were up to temperature, Gary could do little to stop the Austrian from passing him and his attention quickly turned to Mattias Ekstrom who was fast approaching.

With Gary still fighting to get his tyres up to optimum temperature, Ekstrom and Gary were in another intense fight but when Gary finally got his tyres up to temperature he began to build a gap to the Swede.

Sticking with Lucas Auer, Gary struggled to find a way past Auer and had to settle for 9th place to pick up more crucial championship points in the penultimate race of the season.

"I'm obviously pretty disappointed with qualifying. I just didn't achieve the maximum. We should have been in the Top Five or Six on the grid. Starting from P11, it was obvious things would be tough. I put in quite a long first stint and pitted after everyone else, because we wanted to have a fresher set of tyres at the end of the race. When I came out of the pits, it felt like I'd gained some ground but I then got stuck behind Lucas and couldn't find a way past. So I finished in P9 and got some points at least, but maybe more would have been possible. Hopefully, I can have a better qualifying tomorrow." 

Sunday

Starting Sunday strongly, Gary was back on the pace in practice as he finished the 30-minute session in 4th place with a 1:31.530 lap time. However, this didn’t transfer into qualifying as Gary again struggled with his pace over one-lap. Finishing qualifying in 9th place, Gary knew he would have to have a strong race if he was going to finish his season on a high.

In front of 152,000 spectators at Hockenheim, Gary got a great start off the line and was in a tight battle with a handful of drivers through the opening lap. Playing the long game, Gary didn’t work his tyres too hard as he had a conservative start to the final race of the season.

Making good progress, Gary then came up behind Timo Glock and the pair went to wheel to wheel around the hairpin and were inches away from one another through the flat-out right hander. Staying committed to his overtake, Gary bravely kept his foot to the floor and sailed down the inside of Glock, taking 7th place and avoiding contact with Glock despite running very close to him through four corners.

Pitting on the nineteenth lap of the race, Gary rejoined the action in 15th place but on fresh tyres and low fuel, the scene was set for a dramatic finale. Surging through the field, Gary was one of the quickest drivers on track as he made outstanding progress up the order.

Breaking into the top-ten with ten minutes to go, Gary’s Mercedes evolved brilliantly through the race as he continued to pass more drivers. With just five minutes to go he was up to 7th place but he wasn’t finished and shortly passed Augusto Farfus and then Bruno Spengler when the Canadian made his mandatory stop.

In the final minute of the race, Gary chased down Maxime Martin and got down the inside of the BMW driver at the hairpin and moved himself into 4th place before the chequered flag dropped to conclude an outstanding drive through the field.

Gary’s last-minute move also helped him steal 10th in the Drivers’ Championship from Paul Di Resta by three points and aided his Mercedes Me team to 3rd in the Teams’ Championship, with Mercedes-Benz finishing 2nd in the Manufacturers’.

"What a day! Qualifying was again disappointing with P9, unfortunately. That was a bit frustrating, because the car had more to give, but the race was perfect. I had to fight a bit at the start but subsequently managed to find my way back up into P8. We then stayed out for a long time, longer than most drivers, which was our strategy. I had the freshest tyres after we'd pitted, and the car was just incredible in the race. Its pace was amazing and very different to everyone else's in the second stint. It was a really good race." 

 

#2 Gary Paffett | Round Nine - Hockenheim II

 

FP1: 5th (1:32.052, +0.292)

FP2: 11th (1:31.401, +0.552)
Q1: 8th (1:30.958, +0.310)
R1: 9th

FP3: 4th (1:31.520, +0.261)
Q2: 11th (1:30.799, +0.308)
R2: 4th