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Paffett leads home Mercedes one-two
29 April 2012
Gary Paffett has claimed his 18th career DTM victory in front of fellow Brit Jamie Green as the pair gave Mercedes a perfect start to the season with a one-two finish at Hockenheim.
Paffett, who started the race from sixth, made up two positions on the opening lap at the expense of Dirk Werner, thanks to a sluggish start from the BMW man and Audi's Mike Rockenfeller.
The 2005 DTM champion then set his sights on Edoardo Mortara and duly dispatched the Audi on only the second lap of the race.
Mattias Ekstrom, who started from pole position then made the Briton's job a whole lot easier after the Swede made an uncharacteristic error allowing Paffett into second place and a chance to chase leader Green.
Green had held onto the lead up until the first round of mandatory stops but Paffett adopted a slightly different strategy. As a result, Paffett was able to assume track position after pitting a lap later.
The top three remained status-quo for the remainder of the race but the fight for points and positions further down the field ensured an incident packed race.
Christian Vietoris continued Mercedes' impressive form with a fine drive from 15th to an eventual fourth place, surely a candidate for driver of the day. Rockenfeller finished where he started after looking set for fourth position. The late charge from Vietoris though put pay to that.
Andy Priaulx's drive to sixth ensured the Brit was the top placed BMW on the Munich marks return, no mean achievement on the Brits DTM debut.
F1's former stars and Mercedes duo of Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard enjoyed a much more competitive day as the pair fought through to finish seventh and eighth. Schumacher had dropped to as low as 13th after serving a drive through penalty for his part in the opening mealy which saw the German eliminate the BMW of Bruno Spengler and wound the other of Werner.
However, after strong progress Schumacher found himself well within the points and passed team-mate Coulthard with just four laps left.
Miguel Molina and Filipe Alberquerque rounded out the points paying positions in ninth and tenth, providing Audi with a few more points.
Defending champion Martin Tomczyk endured a disappointing day on his debut for BMW after retiring on lap four alongside team-mate Bruno Spengler who retired a lap earlier thanks to collision damage.
by Simon Evans
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