HWA's Paul di Resta says a 'different philosophy' on how Mercedes intend to approach this weekend's Zandvoort challenge has given the 2010 DTM champion reason for optimism at the iconic Dutch circuit.

In recent years, Zandvoort hasn't tended to be a happy hunting ground for the Stuttgart-manufacturer with no Mercedes driver having stood on the podium since Bruno Spengler's second place finish in 2011.

Di Resta arrives into the fifth weekend of the 2016 season just five-points adrift of BMW's Marco Wittmann at the top of championship summit in third position.

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The ex-F1 driver hopes his Mercedes squad can enjoy the same turnaround in performance the C63 machine was able to yield at the Hockenheimring, which helped Di Resta secure his first win in the series since 2010.

Speaking to Crash.net prior to FP1, Di Resta said: "I'm fairly optimistic. It's no secret that Zandvoort has been a question mark for Mercedes because we've struggled here during the past few years.

"That doesn't mean to say we can't [improve]. We've changed our philosophy so we come here with new ideas.

"We've got reason to be optimistic from how we performed at Hockenheim this season. Last year we got beaten by a dominant Audi at the Hockenheimring finale but this year I think we were fairly dominant on the Sunday."

Highlighting the importance of qualifying well around a circuit which lends few overtaking possibilities, Di Resta sets himself the target of securing a strong haul of points as the title race continues to heat up.

"Qualifying is always key around here. Overtaking around here is quite special if you can make it happen. It's more about pressuring someone into a mistake," the ex-F1 driver continued.

"If we can get ourselves within the upper end of the points that would be strong. But we have to believe we can be on the podium. That's what we're here to aim for. The weather looks stable so hopefully that will allow us to get on with it."

Di Resta ended the opening practice in 23rd but Mercedes emerged from FP1 as the fastest of the three-manufacturers' ahead of Audi and BMW, thanks to Robert Wickens' time-topping effort.