Paffett crowned DTM champion

Gary Paffett has been crowned the 2005 DTM Champion after finishing in third position in Sunday's season finale at Hockenheim

Paffett crowned DTM champion

Paffett's only title rival, Mattias Ekstrom, was excluded for only completing one of the two mandatory pitstops, but he would only have finished seventh regardless, whereas he needed a win for a chance at the title.

The race started in wet conditions with Bernd Schneider making a brilliant getaway to lead poleman Jamie Green and Tom Kristensen. Paffett was fifth into the first corner, but he was shuffled back to sixth by Opel's Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the Mercedes arena.

Schneider pulled well clear of Green, leading by over six-seconds by his first mandatory pitstop on lap 16, when he changed on to slicks - as did the rest of the pack during the first round of stops.

Kristensen caught up with Green and passed him before the first pitstops, as the Briton's tyres went off, but Green stopped a lap earlier than Kristensen and got back out ahead of him thanks to an extra lap on slick tyres.

Although Green then closed slightly on Schneider in the middle of the race, a slow second pitstop consigned him to second, over eight seconds in arrears at the finish.

Paffett, meanwhile, made short work of Frentzen and then battled his way past the Audis of Frank Stippler and Kristensen to join colleagues Schneider and Green on the podium.

Paffett said: "After qualifying that far back, it was always my aim to seal the title with a podium finish. It's an incredible feeling to be champion."

His title rival Ekstrom had a shocking race once again. His pace was nowhere near the front runners, despite a strong start, and Audi's bizarre interpretation of the pitstop rules - pitting once but changing the tyres twice during the stop - meant he was excluded from his seventh place finish.

Kristensen finished fourth, ahead of Stippler and the leading Opel of Marcel Fassler. Bruno Spengler (Mercedes) was seventh, and Laurent Aiello (Opel) scored a point in his last ever race before retirement.

Frentzen crashed out with seven laps to go with an apparent mechanical failure that caused his Opel to go off heavily into the Sudkurve tyrewall.

The German appeared to be unconscious initially and required extricating from the car through the roof hatch. But he was talking to doctors and able to move all his limbs before being airlifted to hospital in Ludwigshaven for a check-up.

CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Make Time 1. Bernd Schneider AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 1h 02:12.480 2. Jamie Green AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 8.076 3. Gary Paffett AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 15.986 4. Tom Kristensen Audi A4 DTM + 16.593 5. Frank Stippler Audi A4 DTM + 26.818 6. Marcel Fassler Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 42.911 7. Bruno Spengler AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 45.756 8. Laurent Aiello Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 48.300 9. Pierre Kaffer Audi A4 DTM + 50.028 10. Stefan Mucke AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 52.599 11. Manuel Reuter Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 59.043 12. Jean Alesi AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 59.342 13. Christian Abt Audi A4 DTM + 02.629 14. Mika Hakkinen AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse + 16.053 15. Rinaldo Capello Audi A4 DTM + 23.435 16. Allan McNish Audi A4 DTM + 24.293 17. H.H. Frentzen Opel Vectra GTS V8 + 7 laps NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Driver Make On Lap Martin Tomczyk Audi A4 DTM 19 A. Margaritis AMG-Mercedes C-Klasse 18 Mattias Ekstrom Audi A4 DTM - Fastest lap: Jamie Green, 1:34.868 on lap 29 
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Series DTM
Drivers Gary Paffett
Author Charles Bradley
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