The 2018 DTM Series has reached its half way point after round five at Circuit Park Zandvoort.
On Saturday, Gary Paffett was once again victorious in 2018 to extend his lead in the championship.
Reigning champion René Rast took his first win of the season to get his and Audi‘s championship back underway.
Heading into the DTM summer break Paffett is on top of the standings, with Paul di Resta second and Timo Glock third.
Paffett Maintains His Stronghold
Saturday once again belonged to Mercedes’ Paffett.
The Briton claimed pole position in qualifying in an all Mercedes 1-2-3-4 on the grid.
In the race, Paffett was running second on track with Rast leading. The Audi driver had not taken his mandatory pitstop when a safety car was deployed meaning he was unable to take it.
When Rast had to come in to the pits Paffett retook the lead, to take victory by just one and a half seconds over team-mate di Resta.
It was pole position once again for Paffett on Sunday.
Paffett dominated qualifying, lapping half a second quicker than he did the day before as well as four tenths faster than the next best driver – a massive margin in the DTM.
A slow stop in the race cost Paffett the chance of getting another win, with benefitting from the error.
Despite being on my newer tyres, Paffett was not able to take advantage due to the nature of the Zandvoort track he was not able to pass the Audi and finished just eight tenths of a second behind.
Taking 49 points from the weekend (two poles, one victory and one second place) Paffett now has a 27 point advantage heading to his home race in at Brands Hatch next month.
Audi Bounce Back
For reigning champions, Audi, it has been a difficult start to the year – especially so for champion Rast.
Suffering a number of crashes, including his horrific crash at the the Lausitzring Rast’s defence of his title has not gone how he would have expected.
Coming to Zandvoort, Rast was yet to step onto the podium in 2018 with Audi in general faltering since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced for this season.
On Saturday, Rast found himself leading the race when the frontrunners all changed onto fresh rubber but a safety car ruined his race and put him to the back of the field.
It was almost deja vu for Rast on Sunday. Another safety car when he was once again leading made the Audi driver fear that his position at the front was under risk from the Mercedes of Paffett.
However, it was the long awaited result for Rast who claimed his first victory since Race 2 at Red Bull Ring last season.
This result also means he is the best placed Audi in the championship in ninth with 49 points to his name – 99 behind Paffett in the standings.
The DTM returns 11-12 August at Brands Hatch