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Mercedes' Paffett: Audi DTM Red Bull Ring manipulation 'our fault'

Audi's "manipulation" of the opening DTM race at the Red Bull Ring last weekend is ultimately "our fault," believes Mercedes title contender Gary Paffett

Rene Rast took a clean sweep of race wins for the second event in a row in Austria, although his victory in race one came after a penalty for long-time leader Daniel Juncadella, who was docked 30 seconds for infringing the restart rules after the final safety car period.

With Juncadella out of contention, Rast was allowed through from third by Audi team-mates Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Muller to take victory.

Rast then established a modern-era DTM record of four successive wins after getting the better of polesitter Pafett and Muller on Sunday.

Asked for his thoughts on Audi's strategy in race one, Paffett said: "It's not surprising, no.

"It's a normal Audi move. It's been happening for the last 15 years when I've been here!

"It depends on how you want to win. Honestly, they did a good job to get all their cars at the front, and then you can manipulate the race how you like.

"We need to do a better job so they can't manipulate the race. So it's our fault in the end."


Paffett's points-leading Mercedes team-mate Paul di Resta also took some blame for Rast's race one victory, having failed to keep the Audi man behind him at the final restart.

"I nearly got by Nico, I was in front of Rene just before the safety car came out, but it wasn't so straightforward into Turn 1 at the restart," said di Resta.

"I probably wasn't quite aggressive enough on Rast, we lost that position and that's what allowed the swaps in position to happen in the end."

Rast's double win means he heads into next month's Hockenheim finale 30 points behind di Resta and trails Paffett by 24 points, following the British driver's third place in the second race.

Paffett felt that the changeable conditions of the Red Bull Ring had given Audi an edge on race pace, but is confident of a return to form at Hockenheim.

"They [Audi] have good race pace," he said. "If you look back to Zandvoort and Brands Hatch, we could qualify very well, which meant we could win races.

"Now they are qualifying further up, they are more of a threat in the race as well. I don't think in Hockenheim we should be worried about not being quick enough in the race.

"The difficult thing this weekend was limited running in the dry, there's been a lot of rain, which has limited our ability to set the car up for a long run.

"Hockenheim we should have a better idea of what we need to do there. I'm confident we have a very fast race car and have a performance good enough to beat Rene."

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