Gary Paffett claimed his second victory of the 2018 DTM Series in the second race at the Lausitzring.
The Mercedes driver had waited 1,784 days since his last victory when he won at Hockenheim. He waited just fifteen this time.
Paffett was joined on the podium by BMW‘s Marco Wittmann and team-mate Pascal Wehrlein.
Having started from third on the grid, Paffett took advantage of Wehrlein making a botched attempt to get passed pole-sitter Philipp Eng; Wehrlein was pushed out by Eng at Turn 1 which allowed Paffett to dive up the inside.
On lap four, Paffett had the move done on Eng and was into the lead of the race as the rookie struggled for race pace.
Wehrlein soon too disposed of the Austrian before Wittmann done so too.
The main question was which tyre strategy drivers would opt to take.
Jamie Green gambled by deciding to pit at the end of the very first lap and hope that his tyres would last to end – they did and Green was able to secure a sixth place visit having started down in sixteenth place.
Paffett too was an early stopper, though no one stopped as early as Green, and it seemed to be the correct decision as the stops played out with Wittmann jumping Wehrlein in the stops.
Wittmann was aided by Mercedes producing pit spots that were around two seconds slower than those of Audi and BMW.
The BMW driver spent the rest of the race cutting down what looked like Paffett’s unassailable lead down to 1.5 seconds with just three minutes left in the race. Despite Wittmann’s best efforts Paffett managed the gap to take the win.
By finishing second Wittmann claimed his best result this season thus far.
Wehrlein dropped off the tail of his countryman to finish in third for his best result in his return to the DTM Series.
Paul di Resta put in a strong performance to finish fourth having started down in fifteenth place.
Championship leader Timo Glock fought his way through the top ten passing Green, Eng, Mike Rockenfeller and Joel Eriksson to secure fifth place and maintain his championship lead over Paffett by one point – the same as when they arrived at Lausitzring.
Green secured his sixth place finish with a pass on Eng on the final lap despite having thirty-three lap old tyres, to claim what must have felt like a victory given the torrid start to the season he has had.
Despite only finishing seventh after starting on pole, Eng should be optimistic from his best weekend in the series thus far.
Audi duo Mike Rockenfeller and Robin Frijns were eighth and tenth to make it three Audis in the top ten.
Between them was BMW’s Joel Eriksson who had spent much of the race battling race 1 winner Edoardo Mortara.
The Italian finished just behind the Swede in eleventh place.
Mortara twice had to give up positions to Eriksson after being deemed to have pushed him off the track at Turn 1; in one case there was Lucas Auer and Glock between the pair meaning Mortara had to sacrifice places to them too.
Obviously feeling frustrated, at one point the Italian locked up and to avoid hitting the BMW took to the pit lane.
Dani Juncadella was twelfth, ahead of the Audi of Loïc Duval.
A slow pit stop meant Auer was resigned to fourteenth place, having been involved in the Glock-Eng-Eriksson fight at one point.
BMW duo Bruno Spengler and Augusto Farfus were fifteenth and sixteenth.
Nico Müller finished in last place.
There was was only seventeen competitors in the race after René Rast was not given permission to race.
2018 DTM Series Results: Lausitzring – Race 2
|4||3||Paul di Resta||GBR||Mercedes||57m45.800|