Gary Paffett (EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) claims his first win of 2013 in the fourth race of the DTM season.
Team-mate Christian Vietoris (DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finishes third to take the second podium in his DTM career. No fewer than five of the six Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers finish among the points in front of a huge Lausitzring crowd (65,000 through the gates over the weekend).
Paffett was in second position on the grid and took the lead from Vietoris just after the start. This was the 20th victory for Paffett in his DTM career, making him not only the best driver currently contesting the DTM, but also the third most successful DTM driver of all time. Only DTM record-breaking champion Bernd Schneider (43 wins, all with Mercedes-Benz) and Klaus Ludwig (36 wins, 22 with Mercedes-Benz) have won more races than Paffett.
Mercedes Junior Christian Vietoris started on pole position for the first time in his DTM career at the Lausitzring, finishing the race in 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. Canadian Robert Wickens (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) took fourth place behind Vietoris. Daniel Juncadella (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) in sixth place secured his best result to date in the DTM. Roberto Merhi (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) finished the fourth race in tenth position. Pascal Wehrlein (VfB Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) dropped down to P17 after problems with the front and rear suspension.
Overall standings: Gary Paffett is in third place with 47 points after his first win of the season. Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) and Bruno Spengler (BMW) lead with 59 points each. STIHL / AMG Mercedes are ranked second in the team standings with 67 points. Mercedes-Benz is second in the manufacturers’ standings with 126 points.
The next race: The fifth race weekend of the DTM season will take place from 13th to 14th July 2013 at the Norisring in Nuremberg.
Statements after the Race
Gary Paffett (32, England, EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé):Winner
„My EURONICS Mercedes AMG C Coupé was simply brilliant to drive the whole weekend. After the Saturday session, a lot of commentators were assuming that we had set the car up specifically for qualifying, but even in race trim, we were very fast. 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. 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 “
Christian Vietoris (24, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Third place
„Of course, you want to win the race, starting from pole position, but we must keep the big picture in mind and from that point of view, I’ve had a good weekend. My first DTM pole position was a great experience and I secured a lot of points again today with my second podium and am now placed fourth in the championship standings. Gary got away the drop on me at the start and then I had to defend P2 against Jamie Green during the early laps. Gary was too far away after that, and I had to drive my own race. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel quite as much at ease on the option tires today as compared to the previous race but the car was excellent on the prime tyres. Five Mercedes-Benz drivers in the points shows that our team has definitely made progress, and so we can look optimistically to the future.“
Robert Wickens (24, Canada, STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Fourth place
„That was quite a difficult race for me today. I was forced to push very hard on the option tyres, which meant that they degraded faster than we had expected. I didn’t have a spare set of new tyres available for the final stint, so consequently Christian was able to get past me. That’s regrettable, but the main thing is that we scored some vital championship points today. As far as I am concerned, I’ll keep giving it all I’ve got in every race. If I manage to win, that’s great. But if I finish in second or fourth place, that’s also OK. I’ll just keep pushing.“
Daniel Juncadella (22, Spain, stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Sixth place
„I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to my team. The car handled fantastically well today, and that gave me the necessary confidence to pull off some good overtaking manoeuvres. The team has put in some great work. Apart from the start, the race went well for me. To be honest, I was feeling a bit nervous ahead of the start. I was just a bit too far forward on the grid and had to reverse back into the correct position. When the lights changed to green, I was still in reverse gear, which is why I was a bit slow off the mark. But after that, the first lap went well, and on the option tyres, I was able to attack hard. Our performance in the race at Spielberg was already strong, and now I’m looking forward all the more to the Norisring weekend “
Roberto Merhi (22, Spain, THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): Tenth place
„My pace was good today, but unfortunately the option tyres weren’t giving me enough grip towards the end of the race, as I had worn them out trying to open up a gap on Adrien Tambay. We had thought that the option tyres would last longer, so we hadn’t counted on having to stop a second time half way through the race. If it hadn’t been for that, I might have finished in the Top Five or Top Six today. I hope we manage to get this problem sorted out in time for the Norisring. Of course, securing one point is nice, but I wanted to achieve a finish in the Top Five – maybe I’ll do it four weeks from now at the Norisring.“
Pascal Wehrlein (18, Germany, DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé): 17th place
„It’s good to know that we have a car capable of winning. For me, though, today’s race was one to forget. I had several contacts with other drivers at the start and felt a strong impact to the rear near-side that must have caused some damage, since the car was no longer driveable after that. The axle had definitely been knocked out of alignment because my car kept pulling to the left on the straights and was simply impossible to keep on track, especially when taking right-hand turns. I hope that things go better for me at the Norisring, but today’s strong showing by the whole team makes me feel quite optimistic in that respect.“
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management:
„What a great day for the team. Gary and our entire crew performed incredibly well. Five of our six drivers finished in the points today. When you look back at how we fared during the first three race weekends, then that is much better than might have been expected. Pascal Wehrlein also had a good chance of achieving a points-scoring finish today, but dropped down to P17 after problems with the suspensions, caused by contacts with various other competitors. The first three races of the season did not go as we would have liked, which makes today’s success all the sweeter. With 20 victories to his name, Gary is now the third most successful driver in DTM history and has also secured the 150th win for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM. We put five cars in the Top 10 and two on the podium – what more can you ask? I spoke with our Head of Motorsports Toto Wolff on the telephone after the race and he had a little joke with me, saying that he now intends to stay at home with his children for all the remaining DTM races, if that then brings us the results that we’ve achieved this Sunday here at the Lausitzring.“
Source: Mercedes Motorsport / Pictures: MBpassion.de