Mercedes-Benz’s lead driver, Gary Paffett, who has been tipped as the man to make a bid for the title, again suffered another disaster once again, as according to the 32-year-old, “the weather today threw a huge spanner in the works and completely messed up our whole strategy.”
In some respects, having missed out on title glory last year after being pipped to the post at the Hockenheim finale by defending champion, BMW’s Bruno Spengler, the frustration is clearly there for the Brit, who has tried to make the best of every situation this season.
However, having lows like being given a time penalty at Brands Hatch in May after a great fight back to P3 dropped him to 6th place, before dominating at the Lausitzring to win his only race of the year, the Suffolk-based driver is looking ahead to get back on the offensive in four weeks’ time: “I’m glad that we now have a few weeks off and that I can digest what happened in peace. After that, we’ll be back on the offensive again and make the most of the final race in Oschersleben.“
Qualifying has been a major bone of contention for a lot of the Mercedes drivers, as Gary has only scored one front-row place on the grid earlier this year, coming second best to stable mate Christian Vietoris at the Lausitzring, whose consistency has really put him in striking distance of Audi Sport’s Mike Rockenfeller, who has won his third race of the year.
Being P17 and being lapped was not on the strategy plan at all for the DTM veteran, who is looking to secure his second title, as Head of Motorsport for Mercedes-Benz, Toto Wolff, explained: “It was a great race, especially for the spectators. There were some tough battles, particularly halfway through the race, but that is what DTM racing is like. For Robert and Christian, our strategy worked out perfectly. For Gary, we tried to do something differently and that didn’t work. But that can happen.”
There is still work to be done in the next four weeks, as Oschersleben will see one driver step closer to grabbing that title with both hands. Will Paffett have lady luck on his side? Time will be a telling factor….