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Gary Paffett says DTM qualifying key at Brands Hatch

Gary Paffett Mercedes DTM 2011

Gary Paffett believes that qualifying will be more important at Brands Hatch this weekend than at any other circuit on the DTM calendar.

Paffett, the 2005 champion, needs a home victory to boost his points score after a poor opening half of the season that has yet to yield a podium finish.

The Mercedes driver believes that with passing opportunities few and far between on the 1.2-mile Indy circuit, starting at the front will be crucial.

"Overtaking's so tough at Brands that it's more important to be at the front there than anywhere else," Paffett told AUTOSPORT.

"There's maybe a place at Druids, which I've used a couple of times, but if you're not at the sharp end you can only hope to do something with the strategy.

"One of the big problems with the lap being so short is that even if your strategy is good, if some of the backmarkers stop first, you can be in a position to lap them for a long time, so being at the front just minimises that risk."

Paffett is desperate to take a victory in front of his home fans, having not won a race outright on UK soil since his Formula Vauxhall days in 1999.

The HWA driver believes that this weekend could well break that run.

"I've had some good races at brands; I enjoy the circuit and it's always been pretty close in qualifying. Even last year it could have been pretty close, but we had a bit of a mess-up with the strategy and pitstops.

"It's a challenging circuit and there isn't loads of run-off, so you have to treat it with respect, for sure. The nature of it makes it very demanding for the drives, its 90-plus laps, with no straights to have a rest on."

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