Paffett Charges to Victory

Mercedes driver Gary Paffett scored a convincing win at the East German MOTOPARK Oschersleben, after storming his way and making the most of his rivals' mistakes

Paffett Charges to Victory

Paffett, who started in third, finished a mere three seconds ahead of reigning DTM Champion Mattias Ekstrom, with fellow Briton Jamie Green in third place, ten seconds behind the winner.

It was Green, however, who looked set for a strong finish at the initial stages of the race, as the Briton made a flying start from fourth position to immediately claim the lead, while the rest of the field did their best to avoid an almost-stalled pole-sitter Tom Kristensen.

Kristensen, who was favourite for the win, could not get off the grid and found himself 19th by the time all cars had taken off for the first corner. The Dane finished, eventually, in an inpressive fifth place, having made his way from the back.

Green, in the mean time, maintained a lead at the front while Paffett and Audi's Martin Tomczyk battled for second position.

Crucially, though, Green and Paffett went into the pits one after the other on lap 11, and a few seconds later found themselves driving side by side towards the pit exit. Paffett won that battle, and by the time the two rejoined the track, he was ahead of Green - and remained ahead to the end.

By half way, Paffett was leading from Green, Tomczyk, and a fast charging Ekstrom. Tomcyzk, however, went into the pits on lap 25, leaving Ekstrom to attack Green. A few laps later, though, Tomcyzk retired with a broken front suspension.

By lap 31, Green caved in to Ekstrom's pressure and made a driving error in Turn 4, allowing the Swede to overtake him for second. The three leaders thereafter maintained their positions to the chequered flag.

At the back of the field, the former F1 drivers were having a tough day at the narrow and twisty Oschersleben.

Opel's Heinz Harald Frentzen started from 14th and ended in just that position, while Jean Alesi - who started from 19th - was able to do one better and finish in 13th.

Former F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen had far less luck: the Finn started from 20th but effectively lost chance of any better result when his pit crew made a mistake on his stop, on lap 7. The Finn was given the green light to leave the pits and began driving off, but his rear left tyre was not yet fitted on the car.

This effectively damaged the car, and two laps later Hakkinen spun off spectacularly and retired.

But the day belonged to a smiling Paffett, who said: "This was a very hard race. I had okay start - not as good as Jamie's - and got into third position, and by the second lap I managed to overtake Tomcyzk.

"But the key was the pitstop, and the team did an amazing job there, which allowed me to overtake Jamie. After that, I had to push really hard and just make sure I can keep a reasonable lead.

"So I just want to say thank you for the team for doing a great job."

CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Gary Paffett DaimlerChrysler Bank 1h 1:15.183 2. Mattias Ekstrom Audi Sport Team Abt + 3.169 3. Jamie Green Salzgitter AMG + 10.460 4. Bernd Schneider Vodafone AMG-Mercedes + 24.658 5. Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Abt + 25.219 6. Allan McNish Audi Sport Team Abt + 26.131 7. Laurent Aiello Team OPC + 26.771 8. Marcel Fassler GMAC Team OPC + 39.750 9. Frank Stippler Audi Sport Team Joest + 40.322 10. Rinaldo Capello Audi Sport Team Joest + 42.430 11. Stefan Mucke Mucke Motorsport + 44.065 12. Christian Abt Audi Sport Team Joest + 45.175 13. Jean Alesi AMG-Mercedes + 45.578 14. H.H. Frentzen Stern Team OPC + 49.130 15. Manuel Reuter Team OPC + 49.943 16. Bruno Spengler Junge Gebrauchte + 50.217 17. Pierre Kaffer Audi Sport Team Joest + 51.541 18. A. Margaritis Mucke Motorsport + 1:04.353 NOT CLASSIFIED: Driver Team On Lap Martin Tomczyk Audi Sport Team Abt 33 Mika Hakkinen Sport Edition AMG 10 
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