DTM Brands Hatch 2011: Qualifying - Bruno Spengler secures important championship points / Fourth Place for Gary Paffett

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished in P4 as best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver at the seventh race of the season in Brands Hatch.

Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) scored points with P5 and P7. Eighth-placed Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) secured the final point at his 70th DTM race. Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) also finished in the Top 10. David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class), Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class), Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) and Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished in positions twelve to fifteen.

A total of 21,000 spectators visited Brands Hatch across the DTM race weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday).

Race summary

The start: The race begins in wet conditions. Because of the rain, the drivers complete two parade laps and the race distance is reduced by one lap to 97 laps. Gary Paffett finishes lap one in fifth place, while Ralf Schumacher maintains P6. Christian Vietoris moves up one place and is tenth. David Coulthard moved up three places to 13th.
Lap 4: Bruno Spengler overtakes Miguel Molina (Audi) and moves into eighth position. Vietoris also passes Molina to take ninth place.
Lap 10: Coulthard now in P11.
Lap 12: Spengler overtakes Jamie Green and is seventh.
Lap 16: Vietoris moves up into P9.
Lap 24: The pit stop window is now open, and both Green and Coulthard come in to make their first stops.
Lap 26: Maro Engel makes his first mandatory pit stop.
Lap 32: Vietoris pits for the first time.
Lap 36: Susie Stoddart comes in for her first pit stop and draws up in front of her crew.
Lap 43: Schumacher makes his first pit stop lying in sixth place.
Lap 45: The rain is now falling heavier again. Paffett, currently in P4, comes in to make his first mandatory pit stop, and reemerges ahead of Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) and Schumacher.
Lap 46: Schumacher overtakes Rockenfeller. Green pits for the second time.
Lap 56: Third-placed Spengler comes into the pit lane to make his first mandatory pit stop.
Lap 70: Paffett, Schumacher and Coulthard come in for a second set of fresh tyres.
Lap 71: Spengler comes in for his second and final mandatory pit stop.
Lap 85: Green gets the better of Oliver Jarvis (Audi), moving up into eighth position.
Final lap: After 88 laps and a total distance of 169.752 km, Gary Paffett comes home as the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in P4 at the seventh race of the season in Brands Hatch. Owing to heavy rain, the race ran to the 70-minute time limit rather than the full planned distance. Ralf Schumacher gained one position from sixth on the grid to finish in fifth place. David Coulthard gains four places in the course of the race to finish twelfth.

Comments after the race:

Gary Paffett (AMG Mercedes C THOMAS SABO-Class) – Fourth:
“Fourth place is obviously not ideal, but given the circumstances, it’s a decent result. I was fastest this morning in warm-up, so it could have gone better for us in the dry, but it was a tough race in the wet. I dropped down a couple of places at the start and after that, couldn’t initially keep up with the pace of the leaders. In the second half of the race we were more competitive, and I kept closing on Edoardo Mortara in third place, but unfortunately in the end it wasn’t enough.”

Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Fifth:
“Although the rain made conditions tricky, this was a good race for me – I’m more than satisfied with fifth place. My C-Class was really quick today, and the crew did some excellent work – so a special thanks to them.”

Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) – Seventh:
“Unfortunately the heavy rain really didn’t suit me – starting eighth on the grid, the spray meant I had very poor visibility out on track. That’s why I drove carefully in the beginning to avoid taking any risks, and not make any mistakes. Many thanks to my team for their quick work in the pits, which enabled me to move up a place – that won me two valuable points in the overall standings. I’ll be back on the attack over the next three races, aiming to score as many points as possible.”

Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Eighth:
“I’m of course not too happy with eighth place in the race, in view of starting from fourth position on the grid. It was an eventful race for me – on the first stint I went into the gravel, then I spun: both incidents cost me a lot of time. Still, I fought my way back into the points and I overtook Oliver Jarvis just before the finish for eighth place.”

Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Tenth:
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get away well. Timo Scheider forced me over to the outside of the track in turn one, causing me to drop down the field a few places. My C-Class had plenty of speed after that and I moved up a couple of positions. Unfortunately, my car sustained some damage in a collision with Miguel Molina. It wasn’t easy to drive from that point onwards. My team did a great job and we had a good strategy – but today unfortunately, more just wasn’t possible.”

David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) – Twelfth:
“I moved up four places during the race, but all in all I had a poor day. Racing in the wet is certainly more entertaining for the spectators, but I always prefer dry conditions. It’s a shame, because my C-Class was quick today.”

Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 13th:
“Sadly, the race didn’t go according to plan for me – even though I’d hoped for rain. I got off to a decent start from eleventh on the grid and moved up a few places. Unfortunately, I lost some time in a pit stop and then later on I received a drive-through penalty – after that, 13th was the best I could achieve.”

Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 14th:
“The heavy rain meant this wasn’t an easy race for any of the drivers. The conditions were so bad that at times I had problems keeping the car on the track. At least I had an exciting duel with Renger van der Zande, but overall I’m afraid this wasn’t a good weekend for me.”

Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 15th:
“Unfortunately, I just wasn’t quick enough today. Actually, I fancied my chances more in the wet than yesterday in the dry, but unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. We must now sit down together and analyse the data to find the cause.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Our performance in the wet today wasn’t as strong as usual, but the points standings are now almost level at the top of the table with just three races to go this season. The battle for the title starts here and Bruno Spengler is in with an excellent chance. Congratulations to Audi on their one-two-three finish.”

Source: Daimler AG

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