by Russell Atkins
TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE
Paul di Resta made a strong impression in the DTM last year, despite driving a 2005-spec Mercedes C-Class during his debut campaign in the championship. In 2008, he underlines, he intends to be a full-on title contender.
Even more noteworthy still in 2007 was the fact that the Scot achieved his fifth place in the championship standings having stepped across into the pan-European touring car series from single-seaters, where he had clinched the prestigious F3 Euroseries laurels the previous season. The 21-year-old told Crash.net Radio
how he is aiming for bigger and better things still second time around...
First of all Paul, looking back over your first season in the DTM, how would you say the year went?
Paul di Resta:
I would say it was a good year; it was pretty satisfying. We were in a two-year-old car, and it would have been a tough challenge to make any more of an impact than we did. We've got to be happy.
We had four podiums – two seconds and two thirds – and a lot of good qualifying pace, but we were unfortunate. In the middle of the year I got taken off a few times at the first corner through no fault of my own, and if you take that into account I think we were in a strong position come the end of the year.
How much of a difference would you say there was between the 2005-spec car you were driving, and the 2007-spec machine? There seemed to be a far greater difference as the year progressed and the 2007 car increasingly developed…
Of course; as you would expect, it would be a big problem if your new car didn't develop, whereas we had what had been the benchmark in 2005. You had to make the best of what you had; in some places it was enough and in some places it wasn't. We just had to make the maximum out of what that car could produce.
Back at the start of the year, before the season had begun, did you expect to be that much on the pace come the opening rounds?
I wasn't too sure when I got told I was going to be in a two-year-old car, but after the winter testing it was quite clear how fast it was going to be. That meant it wasn't so much of a shock to me at the first race, because we knew we had good pace; it was a matter of how quickly I could get my head around the longer races, pit-stops and how race strategy worked. At the end of the day I was there to help the other guys, so hopefully I did a good job.
How much of a difference was it for you going from single-seaters into tin-tops?
It was quite a big jump, and it took me a long time to get my head around it, but the car is pretty similar. It has good brakes and a lot of power, and the driving technique when you find the limit is quite close to what you would experience in a single-seater. Everybody at Mercedes and Persson all helped tremendously, and I owe a big thank you to them. They certainly made my year easier than it could have been.
After your excellent results in the first few races, was there a point when you thought 'I can win one of these'?