Audi Tactics Baffle Ekstrom, Paffett

DTM title rivals Gary Paffett and Mattias Ekstrom could not have been further apart in their feelings towards their own teams, after an incident-packed event at the Norisring on Sunday

Audi Tactics Baffle Ekstrom, Paffett

Paffett had nothing but praise for Mercedes-Benz's brilliant strategy and the help of his teammates in assisting him climb through the field, while Ekstrom was left furious that he lost points when teammate Christian Abt finished ahead of him.

After an early Safety Car period appeared to have wrecked Paffett's chances of winning because it had come out too late to allow him to stop, a clever double-stop at a later Safety Car phase minimised the damage of making his second mandatory stop.

And following some brilliant overtaking moves and a little bit of assistance from his Mercedes-Benz teammates in easing his path through the field, Paffett went on to claim a sensational victory in front of the record 143,000 crowd.

"I came out of the pits in about 10th position so there was a lot of hard work to do," said Paffett. "I was behind a lot of cars but I got a lot of support from my Mercedes-Benz teammates and managed to get past a lot of cars.

"From then I got into second behind Tom Kristensen and I knew that he had to make another stop, but the pit strategy was the thing that won the race. I've got to say thanks to the team."

Paffett's delight was in complete contrast to Ekstrom's frustration at having to finish behind another Audi car. Afterwards the reigning Champion refused to acknowledge Abt in the press conference and vowed to make an issue of the matter in the post-race debrief.

When asked whether he requested the team to order Abt to let him through, Ekstrom said: "Maybe my (radio) button did not work but I certainly pressed it.

"I would have needed to take a big risk to pass him and I wasn't prepared to take that. But I do the driving thing and not the strategy - there are a lot of guys at Audi who take care of that."

The two points that Ekstrom lost for finishing behind Abt have allowed Paffett to open up a three-point lead in the title chase.

Ekstrom's situation at Audi left Paffett baffled, as he knows how tight this year's Championship fight is likely to be.

"They (Audi) need to sort themselves out," said the Briton. "We worked great as a team today. The other drivers helped me out, and (Audi) should organise their drivers a bit better because we did a good job and they clearly didn't."

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