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Paffett wins as Audi rivals 'tyre' out
11 October 2009
Gary Paffett ensured this year's DTM title fight will go down to the wire after claiming a dramatic third win of the season at Dijon.
A result that was largely decided in the closing laps, Paffett led a Mercedes 1-2-3-4-5 after several of the Audi drivers were struck by a series of punctures that dropped them out of contention.
The Briton had been running in sixth position early on before moving to second following the first round of pit-stops. Following the Audi of Mattias Ekstrom, the pair proceeded to hold their positions through the next wave of pit-stops as the race entered the latter stages.
However, disaster was about to strike Audi, with Oliver Jarvis, Tom Kristensen and leader Ekstrom all suffering punctures within three laps of one another and with less than ten laps of the race remaining.
With his rivals falling by the wayside, Paffett capitalised to move into the lead but would dramatically slow his pace down in order to ensure his tyres lasted to the end of the race. However, with four Mercedes drivers between himself and the nearest Audi driver, there was never any doubt that Paffett would hold on victory.
Leading home Paul di Resta for a British 1-2, Bruno Spengler, Jamie Green and Ralf Schumacher completed Mercedes' dominant performance.
Crucially for Audi, championship leader Timo Scheider – who suffered a puncture earlier in the race – finished as its leading representative in sixth position, the German maintaining a healthy seven point gap between himself and Paffett with only the Hockenheim season finale now remaining. Ekstrom, the only other driver in the running for the title, is now officially out of the running after only being able to recover to ninth.
Martin Tomczyk finished behind his team-mate in seventh place, while Mathias Lauda was the surprise recipient of the final point in eighth after a last lap collision between Alex Premat and Maro Engel allowed him to get through.
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