DTM » 1 August 2004
Nurburgring 2004: Three in a row for Paffett.
Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett clinched the sixth round of the DTM today [Sunday] at the Nurburgring, with a start to finish victory, in front of a sell-out crowd of over 100,000 spectators.
Paffett's win adds to those achieved at the Norisring, at the exhibition race in Shanghai and at Hockenheim.
"I had an exceptionally fantastic weekend here," noted Paffett. "It's actually my fifth win of the season. Sadly two didn't count towards the championship.
"I had a good start today. We brought forward my second pit stop as Emanuele Pirro had held me back. But Emanuele was in the lead and that's just part of racing."
Mercedes boss Norbert Haug was quick to praise the Brit.
"Gary Paffett drove a flawless race," he added. "It wasn't always easy and unproblematic for him, but he gave his all. It is therefore a very valuable victory for him. What's particularly impressive is that Gary has only driven in 14 touring car races."
Second-placed Swede Mattias Ekstrom driving an Audi A4 DTM secured eight points in the championship standings, which he now heads in front of his fiercest rival Christijan Albers.
"My start wasn't that great," said Ekstrom. "I was a bit cautious going into the first turn, which allowed Peter Dumbreck to overtake me. But he then made a mistake after four turns and I was able to pass him again. I was just as fast as Gary. But he was at the front from the start and didn't make any mistakes. That's why he deserved to win. Congratulations. My aim for the weekend was the lead in the championship – and now I've got that. I'm happy."
Albers drove for a long time in third place before he fell back into 12th following a thrilling duel with Marcel Fässler, after which he soon had to retire into the pits.
Mercedes-Benz driver Bernd Schneider meanwhile took advantage of the situation, overtaking the two drivers on the inside to slot into third ahead of Fassler.
"As expected, it was a very tough race," commented Schneider. "I was locked in a brilliant three-way tussle with Marcel and Christian. Whilst the two were battling it out I seized my chance and was able to overtake them. I think the fans were privy to a fantastic spectacle."
"The race was pretty good," added Fassler. "I was able to keep up with the pace from the start. The end was sadly not ideal. The duel with Christijan was fun, but it unfortunately cost me a place on the podium as Bernd took the opportunity to pass by. Nevertheless, I'm very pleased that I was finally able to be back at the front again, and it's also positive that we've again taken a further step forwards."
The field of pursuers was also involved in heated battles throughout the course of the race.
Ultimately, Tom Kristensen came fifth in front of Timo Scheider, Jean Alesi and Peter Dumbreck, who was the third Opel driver to make it into the points.
The seventh race of the DTM takes place next weekend [August 6 – 8] in the Motopark Oschersleben.
Ekström now leads the drivers' standings with 47 points, 5 points ahead of Albers, who has 42, while Paffett is third on 35.
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