Paul di Resta has called his rostrum finish in the DTM season opener at the Hockenheimring a relief and hopes to use it as a platform to kick on for the rest of the year.

The former Formula 1 driver grabbed his first podium since his title-winning year in 2010 and felt the result was deserved after an extensive winter programme.

The Scot returned to German series last year with the HWA Team after departing from the Force India F1 team in 2013.

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His third place finish at Hockenheim has given di Resta the belief his Merecedes AMG C-Coupe machine has the capability to challenge for race victories over its Audi rivals.

Audi-powered drivers Jamie Green and Mattias Ekstrom each claimed victory at the 2015 season opener, while Audi Team Sport Abt's Edoardo Mortara leads the championship after round one.

"The podium at Hockenheim certainly came as a relief," the Scot said as he prepares for round two of DTM at Lausitz. "It was good to see that the hard work over the winter has paid off and that we are on track to achieve our goal of closing the gap on the other manufacturers. I think we are in good shape and that we are capable of podium finishes at the Lausitzring, maybe even race wins."

The Audi-BMW-Mercedes battle is one di Resta thinks will only intensify as the season continues and fully expects the performance gap to reduce.

"I also think that BMW will be stronger than they were at Hockenheim, and of course, Audi were already strong in the last races," he said. "All in all, I would say that there is not a lot separating the manufacturers, which is very good because it means the skills of the drivers now count for more.

"If we finish in the top five in both races, that would be a successful weekend."

The second round of the 2015 DTM championship is scheduled for EuroSpeedway Lausitz between the 30-31 May.