Lausitz 2005: Paffett's win vanguishes '04 DSQ
1 May 2005
Britain's Gary Paffett converted his superpole into victory today [Sunday], at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, round two of the DTM.
Paffett finished the race 4.472 seconds up on his nearest challenger, to take the fifth DTM win of his career and avenge the disappointment of 2004, when he won here, only to lose the victory after the race due to a fuel irregularity.
"It was a great race. To once again have made it to the highest step of the podium, here, is something very special. And this time I am allowed to keep my points and to celebrate my victory," he said.
"I made a really great start and was able to soon open a gap on my rivals. Afterwards, I focused on saving my tyres and keeping the gap on my closest chaser on a constant level."
Audi driver, Tom Kristensen took the runners-up spot.
"It's just great to have succeeded in working my way up from seventh grid position to second," he noted. "Gary experienced a slightly too easy race, today, as there was a lot of action going on behind him. On the one hand, I lost some time in these incidents, on the other I benefited. During the course of the race we changed our pit stop strategy and this turned out to be the key factor for our success. It's great to be back on the podium."
Mika Hakkinen meanwhile continued to impress after qualifying third, the Finn managing to take his first ever DTM podium on only his second event in the German tin-tops.
"What a fantastic race. I lost some time during my first pit stop, but I'm just overjoyed to have made it to the podium in my only second DTM race," said the former McLaren driver.
Reigning DTM champion, Mattias Ekstrom came in fourth - in spite of a drive-through penalty, while Pierre Kaffer and Frank Stipplier were fifth and sixth respectively.
Round one winner, Jean Alesi and Stefan Mucke rounded out the last of the points scorers, while Laurent Aiello took tenth, one place behind Christian Abt, after a thrilling performance battling his way up the pack after starting last on the grid.
"The great strategy of our team offered me the chance of gaining ten positions," he noted.
"Although I couldn't see the starting lights, I succeeded in making a reasonable start. I didn't take a risk in turn one. We completed 20 laps before pitting for the first time and this helped me to make up ground and pass Rinaldo Capello. The Vectra GTS V8 ran great from the start to the chequered flag, therefore, a better result had been possible if only we had we secured a better grid position."
Of the rest Heinz-Harald Frentzen seemed to be on the way to score points, but when he pitted from seventh place, he lost some 20 seconds due to a wheel-nut problem and eventually finished 14th.
Allan McNish meanwhile was involved in a collision with Opel driver Marcel Fässler and his Audi A4 DTM was so damaged that badly that he had to return to the pits to retire.
The DTM now heads to Spa on May 15, and following Paffett's victory, the 2005 spec. Mercedes-Benz cars will have to take on another 10 kilos of ballast weight, something that will surely make a big difference in Belgium.
"Gary's result is just great," summed up Mercedes boss, Norbert Haug. "Now though we will have to take another ten kilos of ballast weight aboard our cars, therefore, Spa will turn out to be a difficult race for us, as Spa is the circuit were every kilo really hurts."