6 May 2007
Oschersleben 2007: Perfect day for Paffett.
Gary Paffett returned to the DTM winners circle after claiming an opportunistic victory at the Oschersleben, a result that also marks a surprise win for the year-old Mercedes C-Class.
Adding to the credence of potential claims that the weight breaks now favour older machines too much, Paul di Resta was a superb second in his two-year old Mercedes, while Mike Rockenfeller completed the podium in his 'used' Rosberg Audi A4.
A race that once again had more to do with strategy rather than on-track passing manoeuvres, victory for Paffett came after choosing a late pit strategy that helped him pump in the fast laps he needed to deny early leaders Rockenfeller and Mika Hakkinen.
From the start, Rockenfeller got the jump on a rather laboured Hakkinen, the Finn also falling behind Mattias Ekstrom to finish the first lap in third place. The Swede however was quickly judged to have jumped the start and duly given a drive-through penalty to drop him out of contention.
With the first laps over with, Rockenfeller established an early lead, ahead of Hakkinen, Bruno Spengler, Paffett – starting well from eighth -, Timo Scheider, Christian Abt, Jamie Green and Paul di Resta.
Hakkinen though was on a charge, closing quickly on the German as the first round of pit stops got underway, the Finn diving in first and doing enough in his clear laps to emerge back ahead when Rockenfeller completed his stop two laps later.
It left Paffett in the lead, the 2005 Champion moving to the front of the field when Spengler was forced to retire with the similar power steering problems that blighted him during the first round at Hockenheim.
With the positions scattered between those who had pitted once and those that had pitted twice, including Hakkinen who was back in for another pit stop on lap 15 to take him to the end of the race, it was not clear for some laps as to whom had the advantage.
However, it was the strategy of pitting later that was proving most beneficial on the day and when Paffett came back into the pit lane for his second stop on lap 29, he returned back ahead of Hakkinen, Rockenfeller, Scheider and Martin Tomczyk.
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