A sole point may have been less than he might have hoped for in front of his home crowd at Brands Hatch last weekend, but the eighth place he achieved on British soil was just about the hardest-fought point Gary Paffett has ever earned.
Having qualified eighth around the Kent circuit behind the wheel of his 2007-spec Mercedes, the former series champion went on to battle energetically with countryman and Audi rival Oliver Jarvis for much of the early stages of the race, before emerging ahead and spending the final stint robustly defending his position from a determined Bernd Schneider – the latter with a current-spec C-Class at his disposal – to ultimately cross the finish line as the highest-placed driver in older machinery.
“I was obviously quite pleased,” Paffett reflected, speaking exclusively to Crash.net Radio
after the race. “It would have been nice to have done better, but in a year-old car – an '07 Mercedes – that's tough.
“Before the weekend we really didn't expect to be scoring points, so after all that to beat one of the new Mercedes' and all the '07 Audis was a great result. I was happy to get a point, and I hope we put on a bit of entertainment for the crowd.”
Indeed he did, and the 27-year-old also confessed to having drawn some inspiration from visiting Mercedes guest – and his McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate – Lewis Hamilton, who recently joked that he doesn't allow anybody to pass him on the track.
“I think I've got the same motto as Lewis – we don't let anybody overtake us,” he affirmed. “Around Brands it's pretty difficult to overtake anyway, and I think that was definitely the thing. Bernd was pretty quick, but we managed to keep him behind us.
“It was a race situation, we're all grown men, we're all very tough racers and we were fighting for a position and a point. It does get tight, but that's what people want to see.”
The Bromley-born ace acknowledged that his 2008 campaign – with just three points-scoring results to his name so far, compared to five top eight finishes last year, highlighted by a superb triumph at Oschersleben in only his second race back in the DTM – had at times been frustrating, but in the circumstances was not too great a surprise.
“The gap obviously gets bigger and bigger as the development goes on with the '08 cars,” he explained of the '07-'08 divide. “We've just got to rely on the little bit of weight advantage we've got over them to see if we can use that to our advantage, but at somewhere like Brands Hatch that doesn't really help and it is quite difficult, so it was a big result to get a point.