by Russell Atkins
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Following on from a strong debut season in the series in 2007, Paul di Resta vows he is now up for a challenge for the DTM crown in 2008 – when he may just be given up-to-date machinery with which to do battle.
The Scot wowed many onlookers by ascending the rostrum four times last year, despite being at the wheel of a modest 2005-spec Mercedes C-Class. Not only that, but the campaign marked the first time in the 21-year-old's career that he had raced with a roof over his head – something he admits took a little getting used to at first.
“It was quite a big jump,” he acknowledged, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio
, “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.
“After the winter testing it was quite clear how fast the car 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.
“Everybody at Mercedes and Persson [Motorsport] all helped tremendously, and I owe a big thank you to them. They certainly made my year easier than it could have been.”
As to his ultimate achievements – a brace of second and third places apiece and seven points finishes from ten races en route
to fifth spot in the end-of-season drivers' standings – di Resta is justifiably proud, particularly as he ended proceedings as the best-placed driver in a non 2007-spec car. That's not to say, however, that he doesn't intend to do even better in 2008…
“We had to make the best of what we had,” he asserted. “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.
“I would say it was a good year; it was pretty satisfying. It would have been a tough challenge to make any more of an impact than we did, so we've got to be happy.
“We had four podiums 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.