With just a two-point advantage in the DTM championship battle, Gary Paffett heads to the Austrian Alps for the penultimate round of the 2018 season and tensions are set to rise with just four races remaining.
Gary’s outstanding momentum shows no signs of slowing as the DTM arrives in Austria for the penultimate round of the 2018 season at the 4.326-kilometre Spielberg. A picturesque circuit sat in the Alps, the first half of the track rewards power, with three straights separated by a pair of uphill right-handers that provide excellent opportunities for overtaking. As the drivers then work their way downhill, the circuit then relies on the aerodynamics of the cars, with a series of quick corners that rewards smooth, technical driving.
Gary departed the previous round of the season at the Nürburgring with a slim two-point advantage in the DTM standings after another strong weekend saw the Mercedes-AMG driver collect two front row starts before finishing the weekend’s races in 3rd and 5th place. This added to his total of eight podiums for the season and, along with 3 wins, 4 poles, 7 front-row starts and 3 fastest laps, Gary now has a total of 206 points with just four races remaining.
“I went to the Nürburgring second in the championship and came away first with a very strong showing and two second places in qualifying. I started from the front row in both races, finished third on Saturday and should have been second on Sunday. So in general, our performance was very good at the Nürburgring.”
Since returning to Spielberg in 2011, Mercedes-AMG's drivers have made five podium appearances between them - with Gary responsible for two of these. After making an immediate comeback at the Nürburgring after his difficult weekend in Misano, Gary is now full of confidence heading to Austria but knows it will be hard work to maintain his lead.
“We are back on the pace, scoring points again and back in the lead of the championship. So I am really looking forward to Spielberg. I think our car is going to work well there, but as always, it will be a challenge. The Nürburgring also threw up a few issues for us that we will have to master at Spielberg. Consequently, we still have some hard work ahead of us."
Track action in Austria starts on Friday with free practice at 15:45 (BST). Saturday and Sunday follow the same timetable: free practice in the morning at 07:30, with qualifying following at 09:35 and the days’ races getting underway at 12:30.