Gary Paffett became the record holder for victories at the Lausitzring on the weekend as his secured his second win of the 2018 DTM season and his fourth career win at the Lausitzring.
Qualified in 14th place for race one and made his way through the order to finish in 9th
Gary Paffett picked up his fourth win and sixth podium in race two at the Lausitzring to make him the most successful driver at the circuit
A haul of 28 points from the weekend sees Gary stay 2nd in the Drivers’ Championship, one point off the leader, Timo Glock
His Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS team now leads the Team’s Championship by 12 points as their tally raises to 110 points
Mercedes now lead Manufacturers’ Standings by 48 points with 212 points
The weekend at the Lausitzring came on the back of a fantastic opening weekend at Hockenheim that saw the Fitbit-sponsored driver reach the podium on both occasions and securing victory in the first race of the year.
Looking to replicate his hot start to the year, Gary came out the blocks Friday for free practice and concentrated on the team’s long-run pace. Completing the joint-most laps of anyone on Friday, Gary recorded a good amount of data for the team as he finished his 20 laps in 11th place with a best lap time of 1:40.190.
Gary was satisfied with his start to the weekend and knew there was pace to be unlocked as his Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS stablemate, Pascal Wehrlein, topped the session.
“Today was a good day, we focused mainly on our race pace and long runs. First day on the track is always a bit slippery but it’s the same problem for everyone so we’ll be working hard overnight to find the right balance in the car. The pace of the Mercedes is there so we’ll be doing our best to unlock it tomorrow in qualifying.”
After concentrating on race pace in day one of the weekend, Gary turned up the heat in Saturday morning’s practice session as he put down his first qualifying-pace laps of the weekend. Setting a 1:37.681lap-time, Gary eclipsed all of Friday's lap times and finished the morning’s practice in 1st place to get his day off to a solid start.
Unlike his strong practice performance, qualifying didn’t go to plan for Gary as he failed to unlock the full potential of his Mercedes in the twenty-minute qualifying session. Finishing with a lap time more than half a second slower than his practice time, Gary’s 1:38.135 lap saw him secure a 14th place start for race one at the Lausitzring.
As the lights went out for the start of the first race of the weekend, the safety car was almost instantly brought out to recover two Audis as Nico Mueller stalled on the grid was collected heavily by Jamie Green - leaving vast amounts of debris on the start-finish straight and requiring a long safety car period to clear the circuit.
When the race got back underway, it ran for only half lap more until Rene Rast had a scary incident as his Audi ran wide onto the grass and his wheels were stuck into the outfield - causing his Audi to flip over numerous times. Despite the scary-looking accident, Rast was able to escape injury and walked out of the car unaided.
When the action finally got back underway at the Lausitzring, only twenty remained on the clock. Leaving his stop longer than most, Gary followed Mortara into the pits, hoping to secure track position.
Rejoining the race, Gary’s rejoined in second place of the stoppers but with cold tyres underneath his Mercedes, there was little he could do to stop the assault from behind and Gary eventually tumbled down the standings.
Taking the chequered flag in 9th place, Gary picked up more championship points for his 2018 season but knew that his qualifying performance played a vital role in the outcome of his first race.
"I'm not satisfied with this race. Unfortunately, we lost too many positions during the pit stop. After that, there was also a contact with Gary when we came out of the box with cold tyres. That's why it was not a good race for me. I feel that I could have got a lot more out of it. But fortunately, tomorrow is another race, and I'll be back in full attack mode."
Kicking off Sunday with the final free practice session of the weekend, Gary finished the morning’s session in 6th place after recording a 1:39.187 lap time, just 0.270-seconds off the fastest man, Nico Mueller.
Rolling into qualifying, Gary looked to have a major improvement on his Saturday qualifying performance and the Mercedes ‘Captain’ delivered. A scorching 1:38.218lap time saw Gary finish the twenty minutes in 3rd place, with the top-three places separated by just six-hundredths of a second.
Starting the second race of the weekend from the outside of the second row, Gary got a good start off the line and was pressuring second place driver, Pascal Wehrlein, into turn one but soon backed out and tucked in third place.
Staying in third place, Gary was biding his time and on the third lap, his opportunity arose. As Wehrlein tried a move around the outside of Eng for the lead of the race, Wehrlein lost time in the battle and opened the door for Gary and Gary flew straight through into second place.
Now in second, Gary was soon on the back of Eng and, on the fourth lap, Gary got a great run heading down the finishing straight and flew past Eng into the lead of the race before even reaching the braking zone.
Gary now started to build a healthy gap out in front and the right strategy call became vital to maintaining the lead. Pitting on lap 11, Gary stayed as the leader of the stoppers and looked set to cruise to victory.
However, this was easier said than done as the late-stopping Marco Wittmann began to catch Gary at an alarming rate. With the little life left in his tyres, Gary managed to keep a healthy gap to Wittmann and was never truly challenge from the BMW driver.
Taking the chequered flag, Gary crossed the line to take his second victory of the 2018 season and maintained his 2nd place in the Drivers’ Championship!
"That was a tough race. It was very hot out there, and the cars were sliding about quite a lot, which made it a far from easy race. Yesterday, I said that we would do our best, and today it was enough to win. We knew that our car was good. After two race weekends, I now have two wins under my belt - that's an incredible start to the season. After the pit stop, I was happy with the gap I'd pulled out on the pursuing group, but on the last 15 laps, I had to push hard again to stay ahead of Marco (Wittmann). Thanks to the whole team. It's been a great day and a well-deserved victory for them."
Next up for Gary is the first round outside of Germany as the DTM heads to Budapest for the third round of the season (1st - 3rd June).