DTM Zandvoort: Leader Gary Paffett wins over chasing Mercedes pack

Mercedes veteran and DTM championship leader Gary Paffett extended his points lead with victory in the first race at Zandvoort

DTM Zandvoort: Leader Gary Paffett wins over chasing Mercedes pack

Paffett was supreme on the Dutch circuit, and was never headed other than during the pitstop sequence as he led home a Mercedes 1-2-3-4.

Poleman Paffett came under heavy pressure from fellow front-row starter Pascal Wehrlein for the opening eight laps, before the former Sauber Formula 1 driver made his pitstop.

Paffett pitted one lap later without problem, but Wehrlein had lost five seconds during his stop, dropping him behind Paul di Resta, who had run third from the start.

Wehrlein was the pace man, and slashed the gap to his two British Mercedes stablemates, but then there was a safety car just after half-distance when Nico Muller, who had been leading the Audi charge in a net fourth position, got a puncture and plunged head-on into the tyres at the Gerlachbocht right-hander behind the paddock.

Extraordinarily slow work in locating a flatbed to rescue the stricken Audi meant the field droned around for ages, leaving just nine laps of action to the finish.

Rene Rast was the only driver not to have stopped, and the reigning champion's Audi was even pulling away from the leading Mercedes trio.

It had looked as though Rast could rejoin after a late pitstop and score an extremely good result, but the timing of the safety car well and truly scuppered him.

After the restart, Rast held on at the front before making his inevitable stop with one lap remaining, allowing Paffett back in front.

Paffett held the gap to di Resta at seven or eight tenths for most of the restart, finally taking the flag 1.4 seconds clear.

Di Resta had rubbed panels with Wehrlein into Tarzanbocht at the restart, and then Wehrlein lost out in another body-swiping moment to fellow Mercedes man Lucas Auer on the exit of the corner.

Auer therefore took third from Wehrlein, while local man Robin Frijns benefited from the misfortunes for Muller and Rast to be top Audi driver in fifth.

Timo Glock was the leading BMW challenger, although he had Marco Wittmann for company for most of the race as they took sixth and seventh ahead of another BMW, that of Augusto Farfus.

Joel Eriksson made good progress after the restart, the BMW rookie moving up to ninth, while Audi's Jamie Green completed the points scorers.

Title contender Edoardo Mortara, who suffered a broken brake-balance adjuster in qualifying and started last, could make little progress in his Mercedes and finished 13th.

Race one result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 57m29.724s 34
2 Paul Di Resta HWA Mercedes 1.422s 34
3 Lucas Auer HWA Mercedes 1.865s 34
4 Pascal Wehrlein HWA Mercedes 2.290s 34
5 Robin Frijns Abt Audi 2.697s 34
6 Timo Glock RMR BMW 4.122s 34
7 Marco Wittmann RMG BMW 6.863s 34
8 Augusto Farfus RMG BMW 7.201s 34
9 Joel Eriksson RBM BMW 7.867s 34
10 Jamie Green Rosberg Audi 8.548s 34
11 Loic Duval Phoenix Audi 8.885s 34
12 Bruno Spengler RBM BMW 10.099s 34
13 Edoardo Mortara HWA Mercedes 10.458s 34
14 Philipp Eng RMR BMW 10.787s 34
15 Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 11.444s 34
16 Daniel Juncadella HWA Mercedes 11.918s 34
17 Rene Rast Rosberg Audi 39.538s 34
- Nico Muller Abt Audi Retirement 18

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DTM Zandvoort: Gary Paffett takes pole in Mercedes 1-2-3-4 sweep

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Series DTM
Drivers Gary Paffett
Author Marcus Simmons
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