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Lausitz 2008: di Resta breaks duck

18 May 2008

Mercedes-Benz drew level with DTM rival Audi at the Eurospeedway Lausitz on Sunday, as Paul di Resta took his maiden victory in the series to make it two apiece after four rounds.

The Scotsman built on his second place last time out at Mugello to claim a first success in only his 14th race since graduating from the F3 Euroseries, leading from lights to flag after also taking pole position on Saturday.

After 51 laps, the 22-year old crossed the line with 5.562secs in hand over his main rival, with points leader Timo Scheider providing the main opposition, and the best riposte from Audi as he claimed another podium. The top three was completed by fellow Audi driver, and reigning champion, Mattias Ekström.

“It can't get any better than today,” di Resta said after spraying the customary champagne, “I have already had a couple of podium finishes in the DTM, and they were great, but nothing can't be any better than today. Hopefully, there are many more such days to follow.”

di Resta's success also continues Britain's spell at the top of the DTM tree, following Jamie Green's win for Mercedes at Mugello a fortnight ago, and maintained the Three Pointed Star's recent hold on Lausitz events. Having made the best of his starting position, the Scot didn't lose his lead - or his head - and remained unchallenged to the flag, taking a new lap record in 1min 18.938secs to cap a perfect haul.

“That was a great race from Paul," confirmed Mercedes-Benz motorsport director Norbert Haug, "Today, he was in a class of his own and has deserved this win. Paul's first race in the DTM isn't that long ago and I really hope that he can continue this streak. The group of Audis behind us was very strong, but I don't think that they would have been able to beat Paul. All in all, we are very happy with the result.“

Scheider and Ekström were followed home by another Audi driver as Martin Tomczyk took fourth ahead of Green, with very quick pit-stops by the respective Audi crews and problems during Bruno Spengler's stop enabling the trio to get ahead of the Canadian, who had acted as something of a roadblock while di Resta made his getaway.

“We can be very happy with this result, as it is better than we expected," Scheider admitted, "Throughout the race, I gave everything but, today, Paul was simply better. What is important is that I have been able to extend my points lead with this second place.”

Ekström too felt satisfied with his performance given the weight differences between the leading cars from each marque, and was happier with his A4 DTM.

"I had quite a good race - the start wasn't really perfect but, apart from that, it went quite well," he reflected, "Compared to the race at Mugello, we have changed some things on the car which better suit my driving style.”

The race began in typically robust style, with several cars running wide into the first turn, and Tom Kristensen finding himself turned around and shedding bodywork that would hamper the rest of his afternoon.

"I was put in a sandwich from left and right and turned around in the third corner," the Dane confirmed, "During the safety car period, the team performed a very quick repair stop, but the car was simply too heavily damaged to be able to still drive good lap times."

Also in the wars was stable-mate Markus Winkelhock who, having been tapped twice on the opening lap, ended it with the Playboy Audi sitting, damaged, against the pit-wall.

"The Lausitzring is not a good place for me," he sighed, "Last year, my race ended in a tyre stack, and so did this one. In the first turn, someone hit me in the rear and, in the third, it happened again. At first, I thought only that one of the wishbones was bent, but then – on the straight/finish at over 200kph – my tyre blew."

Spengler, after his delay, eventually came home sixth to consolidate a similar position in the overall standings, heading Bernd Schneider and Oliver Jarvis as the final scorers. The Briton, however, only inherited eighth spot after Audi team-mate Alex Prémat was excluded from the results after it was discovered that he had used a tyre that hadn't been allocated for use in either qualifying or the race. Jarvis thus became the best-placed driver with a year-old car, enhancing his burgeoning reputation in the series.

"It was a good race with a fast car," the Briton commented, "Unfortunately, I got entangled in a starting tussle, which made me lose three or four positions. But, thanks to good pit-stops, I was able to make up ground again, and eighth place is a good result for our team."

Mike Rockenfeller and Gary Paffett rounded out the top ten, while Ralf Schumacher, in his fourth outing in a year-old Mercedes, claimed 14th, one place ahead of 2003 series runner-up Christijan Albers.

The series now takes a break to avoid a clash with football's European Championships, before reconvening on the day of the final to do battle on the legendary Norisring street circuit.


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