Gary Paffett storms to 1st victory of the season at DTM Lausitz

 2013 DTM Lausitz Gary Paffett at finish line The fourth round of the Deutschen Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) at Lausitzring was the first venue where Mercedes-Benz drivers took an emphatic charge with Gary Paffett’s all-conquering victory and Christian Vietoris’ third and Robert Wickens’ fourth places. Paffett’s first win of the season and 20th in the DTM makes him the third most successful DTM driver after Bernd Schneider (43 wins) and Klaus Ludwig (36 wins). Six Mercedes-Benz drivers finished in the points at the DTM Lausitz weekend.

Audi had Drivers standings’ leader Mike Rockenfeller finishing second, Jamie Green fifth, Mattias Ekstrom eighth and Edoardo Mortara ninth. Whereas, BMW only had one entry in the DTM Lausitz top ten results: Bruno Spengler’s seventh place.

In the Drivers standings, Rockenfeller and Spengler are tied leader, followed by Paffett with 47 points, Vietoris with 40 points and Augusto Farfus with 33 points. Although it wasn’t a productive weekend for BMW, the Munich-based team still maintain the lead in the Manufacturers’ championship with 177 points. Mercedes-Benz climbs to within 51 points for the DTM manufacturers’ lead.

32013 DTM Lausitz Gary Paffett at race start

At race start, Paffett stormed from second on grid to wrestle the top spot from team mate Vietoris. Behind Vietoris, Green, Spengler, Wickens, Rockenfeller, Adrien Tambay, Roberto Merhi, Mortara and Filipe Albuquerque followed. “It was a bit more difficult for us on the option tyres, but we were able to pull away from Mike Rockenfeller on the primes,” Paffett commmented.

Paffett led this race order comfortably until the first stops between laps 4 – 27. Prior to his stop on lap 25, Paffett had pulled out to a 3.1 seconds lead on Vietoris who led Green, Spengler, Wickens, Rockenfeller, Merhi, Tambay, Daniel Juncadella and Mortara. Having had new shods on, Paffett retook the track on lap 26 and resumed the race lead from Rockenfeller, who’s only 0.7s behind.

 

When the second stops were completed by lap 46, Paffett continued as head of the order; which included, Rockenfeller, Wickens, Vietoris, Green, Spengler, Juncadealla, Mortara, Ekström and Merhi. Four laps from the end, Ekstrom swiped past his team mate Mortara for eighth. Vietoris then overtook Wickens for third under braking for the first corner on the very next lap. From that point on, Paffett and Rockenfeller were basically cruising to the finish line. It’d be Paffett from Rockenfeller, Vietoris, Wickens, Green, Juncadella, Spengler, Ekström, Mortara and Merhi. Spengler managed to hold on to seventh from a charging Ekstrom in the last few corners. Both the BMW M3 DTM and Audi RS 5 crossed the line side by side, but it was the BMW M3 DTM that had an inch of an advantage for the seventh spot.

Paffett affirmed after the race, “After the disappointing start to the season, the team has really got stuck in over these last couple of weeks, and this victory is the perfect reward for all our hard work. It’s been a while since I last won a race. This one is all the more satisfying because it’s my twentieth in the DTM.”

2013 DTM Lausitz Mike Rockenfeller second overall

Rockenfeller made it to second from a sixth position start. The 2010 Le Mans winner switched from standard to option tyres after just four laps and from that moment was the fastest driver in the field. He overtook Wickens and subsequently put pressure on Paffett. After the second pit stop, the Audi driver fully concentrated on bringing home his second place – and thus securing the lead of the standings.

Vietoris did his squad proud through the weekend; he started on pole for the first time and finished a respectable third place. This is the second time this year that Vietoris has achieved a podium after his third place finish at the season-opener in Hockenheim. Team mate Robert Wickens came home fourth ahead of Green, Juncadella and Spengler. For Green, the fifth place finish was his first points for his Audi squad. Other notable Mercedes and Audi finishers were Juncadella sixth (best finish to date), Ekstrom eighth, Mortara ninth and Merhi tenth.

2013 DTM Lausitz Bruno Spengler sixth place

BMW didn’t have it their way this time around, with Spengler struggling to seventh place finish. The six points Spengler achieved at Lausitz meant that he is tied on points with Rockenfeller in the Drivers’ standings. BMW runners who finished the race included; Farfus 12th, Dirk Werner 13th, Timo Glock 14th and Joey Hand 15th. Former DTM champ Martin Tomczyk ended up 19th, then Marco Wittmann and Andy Priaulx in 21st and 22nd places.

2013 DTM Grid Girl at Lausitzring

The fifth race weekend of the DTM season will take place from 13 – 14 July at the Norisring in Nuremberg.

2013 DTM Lausitz Gary Paffett podium

DTM Round 4 Lausitz results
1 Gary Paffett Mercedes-Benz 1:09.58.562
2 Mike Rockenfeller Audi +6.800
3 Christian Vietoris Mercedes-Benz +11.510
4 Robert Wickens Mercedes-Benz +12.790
5 Jamie Green Audi +14.138
6 Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-Benz +19.462
7 Bruno Spengler BMW +21.592
8 Mattias Ekström Audi +21.621
9 Edoardo Mortara Audi +24.715
10 Roberto Merhi Mercedes-Benz +25.643

DTM Drivers standings
1. Mike Rockenfeller 59 points
2. Bruno Spengler 59
3. Gary Paffett 47
4. Christian Vietoris 40
5. Augusto Farfus 33
6. Marco Wittmann 32
7. Robert Wickens 27
8. Dirk Werner 22
9. Mattias Ekström 20
10. Joey Hand 16