Oschersleben 2005: Paffett's second win of year
27 June 2005
Britain's Gary Paffett took the win at the Oschersleben today [Sunday], and by doing so closed to within one point of current championship leader, Mattias Ekstrom.
Paffett, who started from P3, eventually triumphed by 3.169 seconds, taking his second win of the year, after also coming out top at Lausitz in May. Paffett took second at the start after pole-sitter Tom Kristensen failed to get away. He then battled with fellow countryman, Jamie Green, before passing him in the pits.
"Following my failed start at Brno, I was rather careful during the start, but I succeeded in passing Kristensen right away," reflected Paffett.
"My team made a fantastic first pit stop. During the final 10 laps, Ekstrom was faster than me, but I didn't make a mistake and offered him no opportunity of passing me. It's great to be back on the highest step of the rostrum."
Ekstrom thus took second, and try as he did during the latter stages of the race he couldn't overhaul Paffett.
"My start wasn't too good as I lost some time because of Kristensen not getting away," he commented. "For many laps, I was involved in a fair and tough battle with Laurent Aiello, but then I could pass him. It was a similar situation with Jamie, but in this case, I could pass him only when he made a mistake.
"Afterwards, I pushed as hard as I could, but unfortunately this wasn't enough to steal Gary's win. Due to DTM's extreme competitiveness it's really difficult to win a race from fifth position on the grid."
Jamie Green completed the top three, to give Mercedes two spots on the podium, the Brit securing his maiden DTM podium in the process, although it could have been second not third but for a mistake in turn 4.
"It feels just great to have secured my first DTM podium finish," he said afterwards. "I had a great race and the battles with Ekstrom start to become kind of a routine matter. My start was okay but not extraordinary. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in lap 31 and Ekstrom used the opportunity to pass me. Nevertheless, it's a great result for me and the team."
Further back DTM veteran, Bernd Schneider was fourth, ahead of pole sitter, Kristensen, who had an abysmal start. When the lights went off, the seven-time Le Mans winner didn't get off the line and dropped back to 19th position, while Green took the early lead from fourth on the grid, followed by his brand-mate, Paffett.
Allan McNish and Laurent Aiello came in sixth and seventh respectively, the latter though was slowed by a bizarre incident on the opening few laps.
"My passenger door opened early in the race," he explained, "therefore, I was hampered by a massive oversteer. Following my first pit stop, my car handled really well and I could make up ground. After my second stop, I even succeeded in matching the pace of the leaders. Altogether, I'm really pleased with the result."
The final point went to Marcel Fassler.
Of the rest, Spa winner, Mika Hakkinen was a notable retirement. He was hampered early on by a mulled pit stop and a short time afterwards - on lap ten - he went off the 'island'. The car was damaged in the incident and he returned to the pits and retired.
Former F1 rivals Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen also had less than rosy races, coming home in 13th and 14th places respectively.
The next DTM race will be held on July 17 at the Norisring - the only street circuit on the schedule.