Gary Paffett is bidding to maintain his winning ways as the DTM circus arrives at the Eurospeedway Lausitz this weekend, after registering the maiden victory for a year-old machine in the series last time out in Oschersleben.
The 2005 champion – who triumphed at Lausitz on his way to the crown that year – sits just one point adrift of the title lead courtesy of his superb, against-the-odds success in round two. Although he will be carrying extra weight as a result of that, the McLaren Formula 1 tester is confident of sustaining his unexpected early championship charge.
“After winning the race in Oschersleben my car will even be heavier,” he acknowledged. “That will make it more difficult to repeat this success, however the atmosphere within our team is great and everybody is confident we will achieve another good result at the Lausitzring where I won two years ago.”
Indeed, the circuit has been a happy hunting ground for British Mercedes stars in seasons gone-by, with Peter Dumbreck lifting the spoils in the inaugural race held there back in 2001. His countryman Paul di Resta – who incredibly jointly leads the drivers' standings in his rookie campaign in the series and in a 2006-spec car – is hoping he will be able to uphold that trend.
“We have continuously improved throughout the first two races,” the Scot asserted. “Now we must focus to maintain this level. If we can do that we should be among the front-runners again.”
Fellow Brit Jamie Green, meanwhile, has seemingly managed to do everything but win a race at the Eurospeedway, a record he is clearly keen to set to rights in 2007.
“At the Lausitzring I have achieved two poles and one fastest lap so far,” the former F3 Euroseries Champion explained, “so it is a track that suits me. This time I want to be at the front in the race too.”
Team Persson Motorsport – which runs the C-Classes of both Paffett and di Resta, in addition to that of Greek driver Alexandros Margaritis – is the only squad to have scored points with three cars in both of the season's opening two races, including the outfit's breakthrough success at Oschersleben. Now Norbert Haug is eager to repeat that feat with the new C-Class, yet to truly shine in 2007.
“Oschersleben showed that the DTM is more competitive than ever before,” the Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport stated. “Consequently, surprising results like the first-class operating Persson team's one-two victory with Gary and Paul are possible.
“Mercedes-Benz has led more than 76 per cent of all the first two races' laps, scored most of the points and in Oschersleben the new C-Class had the best speed of all competitors, including pole position, fastest race lap and best average lap times over the distance. However, the most important thing is still missing – a victory.”