28 August 2005
Zandvoort 2005: Paffett back in front after win.
Britain's Gary Paffett took the win at Circuit Park Zandvoort Sunday.
Paffett, who started from P4, eventually triumphed by 12.015 seconds to take his fourth victory of the year. The result also moved him back into the lead in the drivers' championship.
"A great weekend and a fantastic win," reflected Paffett. "My early first pit stop turned out to be the key factor on my way to winning the race, as it offered me the opportunity to pass Ekstrom. The car was just perfect and it wasn't too difficult to win the race, afterwards."
Reigning DTM champion, Mattias Ekstrom took second, and as such Paffett and Ekstrom are now split by just one point - 60-59, with three rounds to go.
"I made a good start and could move up to third position. It seemed as if the race would take a positive course, for me, but unfortunately, I made my first pit stop too late and Paffett could pass me," he explained. "That's how it is with strategies: sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. To win you have to perform a perfect race, and mine wasn't perfect today."
Ex-F1 ace, Heinz-Harald Frentzen gave Opel even more to cheer about following their 2-3 result in qualifying, by taking the final spot on the podium, four seconds ahead of Tom Kristensen's Audi. It was Frentzen's second podium of the season.
"This was one of the toughest races in my career," reckoned Heinz-Harald. "Never before have I sweat that much! Every single lap was like a qualifying lap - absolutely at the limit. When Schneider pitted early for his first stop, we changed our strategy to stay out quite a while longer. At the end of the day, this offered Ekstrom the chance of passing me but I could rejoin the race ahead of Schneider to finish third."
Marcel Fassler meanwhile ended up fifth, ahead of Martin Tomcyzk and Jamie Green. Tomcyzk did particularly well as he had started 15th.
Pole sitter, Bernd Schneider had to settle for eighth, and the final championship point, after he was given a drive-through penalty for touching Rinaldo Capello's Audi, when he missed a braking point.
Bruno Spengler and Christian Abt rounded out the top ten, while Pierre Kaffer finished eleventh and Mika Hakkinen was 12th, after colliding with Manuel Reuter.
Of the rest, five drivers failed to make it to the finish, most noticeably former F1 ace, Jean Alesi, who was the first to retire, when he had a puncture on lap 3. Allan McNish also retired six laps from the finish, but was still classified 15th.
The DTM now heads to the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, where round nine will take place on September 18.
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