by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

DTM Brands Hatch 2012: Complete Report - Gary Paffett secures pole position and achieves victory in home race

DTM Brands Hatch 2012 - Qualifying Report

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) is on pole position for his home race at Brands Hatch on Sunday. This is the third race of the 2012 DTM season (Starts 2pm and has live coverage on ARD, Germany from 13:35pm). The Brit drove a lap of 41.266 in the final shoot-out segment of qualifying. It is his ninth DTM pole position and his first at Brands Hatch. Mercedes-Benz drivers have achieved four pole positions at Brands Hatch since its inaugural DTM race in 2006. Mercedes Benz drivers have started from first place on the grid seven times in DTM races in England (since 1991 there have been 19 races in Brands Hatch, Donington and Silverstone). Mercedes-Benz has had a total of 110 DTM pole position starts. This is the new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé's first pole position.

Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé / 41.410) will be next to Paffett on the grid. He has secured a position on the front row for the first time in his 14th DTM race. This is the 65th double pole for Mercedes-Benz since the factory began contesting the DTM in 1988, and a Mercedes-Benz driver will be on the front row for the fourth time this season.

Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) drove a time of 41.284 seconds in the third qualifying section. This was only 0.264 seconds slower than the fastest qualifying time. Green, who came second in the opening race in Hockenheim, will start from tenth on the grid.

Qualifying Part 1: Jamie Green posted the second fastest time in the first part of qualifying. Robert Wickens (stern AMG Mercedes C-Coupé / 41.584) and Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.587) in 17th and 18th position missed progressing into Q2 by two thousandths and five thousandths of a second respectively. David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.657) and Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.677) finished 20th and 21st. Only 0.431 seconds separated positions one and twenty-one.

Qualifying Part 2: Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 41.524) will start the third race of the season from 16th position on the grid. Again in Q2, there were only four and a half tenths of a second between P1 and P16.

Comments on qualifying:

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Pole Position (41,266):
„Pole position is important in every race, but pole is doubly important at this track, because overtaking is so difficult. My THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Coupé ran really well and the team did a great job – qualifying was just fantastic. The race is long, almost 100 laps, and there’s no chance to relax, every lap has to be perfect, without any mistakes. What’s really nice is securing fastest time in qualifying before my home race. After achieving victory at the opener in Hockenheim and second place in the Lausitz, we’re in with a really good chance of securing another good result tomorrow.“

Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé), Second (41,410):
„Qualifying went just as I had imagined. I feel really at ease at this track and I’m well placed for the race in second position. Overtaking is very difficult around this circuit and the weather is still a bit of an unknown quantity – let's just see what tomorrow brings but I have to say, I’m very pleased with today.“

Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Tenth (41,284):
„It's a shame. I had reckoned on doing better today. I try to be in contention at the end of every qualifying session, so I am obviously very disappointed with this result. I hope I can manage to push further forward during the race and take away as many points as possible.“

Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 16th (41,524):
„I am really pleased with our progress. We are improving with each qualifying session and I just hope this continues throughout the next races. My Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was very good today. It was very tight in the first qualifying session but we managed to get into the second session. I'd like to build upon this great result during the race.“

Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 17th (41,584):
„I missed going through to Q2 by only two thousandths of a second. What a pity, especially as overtaking is very difficult at Brands Hatch. I realise that I’m in for a tough race tomorrow starting from 17th position on the grid but I will do my best to achieve a decent result.“

Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 18th (41,587):
„18th on the grid is obviously a disappointing result. Unfortunately, things did not go my way today and I missed going through to Q2 by the smallest of margins, five thousandths of a second. I proved in the last couple of races that I can still finish in the points even from way down the field, but it won’t be easy at this track. I’ll do my level best tomorrow to improve my result.“

David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 20th (41,657):
„That was a very close qualifying session – just four and a half tenths of a second between 1st and 21st. I’m still having a few problems with the tyres and paid the price today as the field was so tightly bunched. We’ll see in the race, though, what I can do from my grid position.“

Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 21st (41,677):
„It is, of course, a big disappointment to be so far down the field for the start of my home race in Brands Hatch. I had hoped to do better before qualifying got underway, but now I’ll just have to make the most of my starting position. It won’t be easy, but I will do everything I can to achieve a great race for all my fans.“

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
„That was no ordinary qualifying. It was a real thriller of a session, the likes of which we’ve never seen before, so gripping, so exciting. BMW set the pace in the second qualifying session with Martin Tomczyk, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler, then Audi and Mike Rockenfeller piled on the pressure in Q3, posting a fantastic time out on the track. But it was our turn in Q4 with Gary Paffett and Christian Vietoris. We achieved the fastest times, a double pole and front row lock-out.
Hitchcock himself might have scripted today’s events since no-one could have predicted the outcome of this thriller. It is really terrific to have this result under our belt and to have set the scene for success in tomorrow’s race.

Our thanks go to Gerhard Ungar and his team, to Christian and Gary – you were super cool today and that gives us the impetus to go for the maximum possible tomorrow.“

DTM Brands Hatch 2012 - Race Report

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) won his home race, the third race of the DTM 2012 season at Brands Hatch, from pole position. His lead over Bruno Spengler (BMW) was five seconds. It was Paffett's 19th win in the DTM and his first at this track. It was the Brit's 28th podium finish in 84 races in the DTM. With his 19 victories and a win rate of 23%, Paffett is the most successful of the current set of drivers taking part in the DTM. After the opening win in Hockenheim, it was Paffett's second victory in the third race of the new DTM era in the THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé.

This was Mercedes' fourth win out of seven races at Brands Hatch. It was also the eighth win for a Mercedes driver in a DTM race in England. There have been 19 DTM races in England since 1991 (in Donington, Silverstone and Brands Hatch). Mercedes-Benz have won a total of 167 races since they started participating in the DTM in 1988.

His second win of the season enabled Paffett to increase his lead in the DTM drivers' championship to 68 points. He currently has a 25 point advantage over his second place rival Bruno Spengler (BMW). The THOMAS SABO / Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG team leads the team championship with 88 points. The manufacturers' championship is headed by Mercedes-Benz with 133 points, followed by Audi (86 points) and BMW (84 points).

Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé) and Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) were in the points with finishes in 6th and 8th place respectively. Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) came in 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th place. Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) had to retire early.

A total of 27,000 spectators attended the DTM race weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun) at Brands Hatch.

Race summary

The start: Gary Paffett defends his lead at the start from Bruno Spengler (BMW). Robert Wickens moves up four places on the first lap. Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard both go up by two positions on this first lap. Susie Wolff gains three places.
Lap 10: Paffett leads by one second.
Lap 15: Schumacher overtakes Roberto Merhi and moves into 15th position.
Lap 24: The pit stop window is now open. Christian Vietoris comes in for his first mandatory stop.
Lap 27: Schumacher pits for first time.
Lap 39: Wickens and Merhi come in for the first time. Vietoris pits for second time.
Lap 40: Paffett makes his first mandatory stop from lead position.
Lap 43: Coulthard pits for first set of fresh tyres.
Lap 47: Jamie Green pits for first time from lead position.
Lap 53: Paffett leads by two and a half seconds. Schumacher comes in for second mandatory pit stop.
Lap 55: Second set of fresh tyres for Merhi.
Lap 57: Schumacher given drive-through penalty. Second pit stop for Wolff.
Lap 62: Final mandatory pit stop for Paffett, who still leads.
Lap 63: Coulthard comes in for his second pit stop.
Lap 81: Wolff ends race before finish.
Lap 84: Paffett extends his lead to 3.5 seconds.
Lap 86: Green overtakes Filipe Albuquerque (Audi).
Lap 94: Green overtakes Edoardo Mortara (Audi) and moves into eighth position.
Final lap (98): Gary Paffett wins third DTM race of the season at Brands Hatch after 98 laps and a total distance of 189.042 kilometres. Christian Vietoris is sixth.

Comments after the race:

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Winner:
„It's a great feeling to win my home race. I’ve now finally secured my first DTM victory at this track. The team and my THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé were simply terrific – it was a perfect race that we controlled from start to finish. Still, it was not easy, as Bruno Spengler kept piling on the pressure but we stayed in front. Three races, two wins and one second place – let’s hope this season continues just as it began.“

Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé), Sixth:
„I didn't get a very good start off the first row unfortunately. That caused me to drop back a few places at the start of the race. From then on I found it difficult to move up the field but I eventually did manage to gain a few places on the others and collect some important points with sixth place.“

Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Eighth:
„Eighth place is not quite the result that I had counted on. Unfortunately, I lost a little time just before coming in for my first pit stop. After that, my Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was very quick, but overtaking is very difficult on this track. Nevertheless, I got the drop on both Filipe Albuquerque and Edoardo Mortara and went up two places as a result.“

Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 14th:
„All in all, I'm happy with my third DTM race. My pace was quite decent and my stern AMG Mercedes C-Coupé ran very well. I'm getting better from race to race and gaining experience through working with the team.“

David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 15th:
„I really would have liked to have secured a better result for all the British fans at Brands Hatch, but unfortunately, 15th place was all that was possible today. At the start, I muscled my way up the field a bit, but my car sustained some minor damage on the first lap. I’m now focusing on the next race at Spielberg.“

Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 17th:
„Unfortunately, my start did not go according to plan. Still, I did quite well on the first two stints, although I struggled a bit on the final stint. Of course, I had intended doing better than 17th place before the race, but so far, I'm happy with progress as I learn the ropes in the DTM.“

Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 19th:
„My race went quite well all things considered, but I didn’t move up the field by as many positions as I had intended. Now we have to analyse the data from this weekend and draw our conclusions for the next race.“

Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), retired:
„The start of my home race in Britain went really well and resulted in me moving up a number of positions to join the battle in the tightly bunched mid-field. Unfortunately, I had to retire just before the end of the race and so was unable to secure a decent result for my fans, but nevertheless, I hope they enjoyed this exciting race and Gary's win.“

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
„A perfect weekend for Gary with great performances yesterday and today. His pole and the way he achieved it were simply breathtaking and formed the springboard for this victory: where previously, there had been eight competing drivers all within one and a half tenths of a second, Gary put that gap between himself and his team-mate Christian Vietoris.

And then a day later, Gary controlled the race from start to finish over 98 laps. He was clearly the boss here at Brands and thoroughly deserves his 68 points in the championship after securing two wins and a second place: Gary Paffett is Gary Perfect.”

* Official photos and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH *

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