The Mercedes-AMG DTM team got this weekend that marks the half-way point in the season off to a terrific start by taking the top four positions in this ninth race of the season at the Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands. Championship leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS) took his fourth win (2005, 2009, 2010 and now 2018) from his 18th start at Zandvoort. Earlier today, the 2005 DTM champion had secured his 14th DTM pole and 133rd in the DTM for the brand with the three-pointed star – the seventh so far this season. This was Gary’s third win of the year and the 23rd victory of his DTM career, enabling him to draw level with Mattias Ekström on the list of all-time winners in the DTM. Only Bernd Schneider and Klaus Ludwig have taken more wins; Schneider holds the record with 43 wins, followed by Klaus Ludwig on 37.
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport have won at least one race at each of the five race weekends held so far this season, taking at least the top two positions in four of those events. Overall, this was the brand’s 187th victory in the DTM – the sixth so far this year and seventh at the Circuit Zandvoort.
Team-mates Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS) and Lucas Auer (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport) finished alongside Gary on the podium, so in the first nine races of the season, the squad has now notched up 15 podiums between them. All in all, following their podium lock-out at Zandvoort, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport have achieved 551 podiums during 30 years of contesting the DTM.
Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS) in fourth place rounded off the team’s strong performance. Edoardo Mortara (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport) had a technical problem in the first qualifying session on Saturday morning. He was unable to set his brake balance properly and had to start from 18th on the grid. However, he soon shot up into 13th place which is where he finished this ninth race of the season. Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS) booked P16.
Gary (127 points) extended his lead in the drivers’ championship with his second pole and third win of the season. Paul is now in second place overall with 106 points. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport (497 points) are in first place in the manufacturers’ championship. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS (184 points) have pulled out a small lead on SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport (180 points) in the team competition.
Gary Paffett: “It’s been a fantastic day for me. 28 points in one day is just perfect. We’ve had a great car all season, and it was the same again today in qualifying and the race. I got off to a really good start and subsequently controlled the race, which allowed us to pull out a lead. The strategy was also very good, and the pit stop was mega. The guys put in a great performance today. When the safety car came out, the situation got tricky again. After all, you never know what’s going to happen in an Indy restart. But it all worked out brilliantly, and I got my 23rd victory. I’m tied with Mattias [Ekström] on the third most DTM victories – incredible! Many thanks to Mercedes for all the support over the years.”
Paul Di Resta: “That was a productive day. I improved from third on the grid to finish second. I would obviously have liked to come in ahead of Gary, because this has allowed him to extend his lead. But in the championship, consistency eventually pays off. So I’ll keep fighting, because nothing is settled until the end of the season. Up to then, you have to make sure you stay in contention.”
Lucas Auer: “I’m really proud of my performance in qualifying today. We still have to analyse the race in some detail, but I’m obviously happy about the podium. My crew executed a superb pit stop, which gained me some time. I’m usually quite good in the restarts after a safety car deployment – making a flying start on cold tyres is fine by me. That enabled me to gain a position. All in all, I feel good, and if we can just up our game slightly, tomorrow should be another good day.”
Source: Mercedes-AMG DTM