News: DTM Race Results Archive

DTM Race Results Archive:
Paffett bounces back in Austria

Posted 27th September 2017

Gary Paffett displayed a resilient performance in the eighth round of the season, in Austria, to recover from a disappointing Saturday to finish Sunday’s race in 4th place.

With performance weights being dropped prior to the eighth round of the DTM season, Spielberg was going to be the first chance for the manufacturers to display their true pace around the Red Bull Ring without success ballast.

Starting the week in the picturesque Styria region with free practice, the Thunderhead-sponsored driver appeared to get to grips with the track quickly as he finished the first session of the weekend in 5thplace as Audi showed their dominance at the circuit.


Free practice on Saturday morning didn’t get started on time as heavy fog delayed proceedings but once the fog cleared, sunshine filled the blue skies in Spielberg. When action got underway, Gary continued to show good lap times at the Red Bull Ring during the second practice session of the weekend as he finished in 7th place.

With Gary’s pace looking strong through practice, he seemed destined for a good qualifying but a disappointing session saw Gary finish down in 15th place - making the task of scoring points in race one all the more difficult.

Getting off to a good start in race one, Gary kept his 14th place and dived into the pits at the end of lap one. In the hope of a safety car, Gary’s strategy saw him handed the difficult task of having to make his tyres last the entirety of the hour-long race.

Benefitting from the lap one stop in the early stages of the race, Gary made good progress and found himself passing drivers who were several positions higher up the order prior to their pitstop. As the race wore on however, Gary found himself coming under increased pressure from the later stoppers and it wasn’t long before Gary started to drop down the order.

Eventually crossing the line in a 17th place, Gary was evidently disappointed in the result after his tough qualifying put him in a difficult place for the first race.

"I'm obviously very disappointed. We definitely had a lot more lap time in the car, but we didn't get it right in qualifying. We took a bit of a risk after that and pitted on Lap 1 - hoping for a safety car or something. That didn't work out. When you pit early on the first lap, you can't expect to do much better, so we'll just have to do better tomorrow in qualifying." 


Looking to bounce back from the frustration of Saturday’s race, Gary got off to a strong start on Sunday morning as he finished the morning’s practice in 4th place as he the fastest Mercedes-AMG driver.

Heading into qualifying, Gary again continued to look strong around the Red Bull Ring as he finished the session in 6th place as the fastest Mercedes-AMG with his fastest lap time of the weekend – a 1:22.243.

When the lights went out for the start of the second race in Spielberg, Gary got a great start off the line and was gaining on Nico Mueller heading up the hill into turn two. Dropping off the back of the Audi in turn two, Gary then had to turn his focus to Blomqvist who was making a move around the outside.

Running side-by-side down the hill into turn three, Gary commanded the inside line and forced Blomqvist to take to the outside before closing the door on him and keeping his 6th place from the BMW driver.

With Nico Mueller appearing to back the drivers behind up to allow his teammates to pull a gap in front, Gary wasn’t having any of Mueller’s games and took the fight to the Audi driver. Keeping hot on his tail, Gary got a great run out of turn two and switched back on Mueller to complete a great move and snatch the inside line for turn three.

With the Audi’s clearly strong around the Red Bull Ring, Mueller began to close back up to Gary and it wasn’t long until Gary’s mirrors were filled with Mueller’s Audi. With Gary unable to match the pace of Mueller’s Audi, Mueller eventually got past heading into turn five and soon after Gary came into the pits on the tenth lap.

Rejoining behind Blomqvist, Gary spent a couple of laps getting his tyres up to temperature and soon enough was rapidly closing the gap to Blomqvist. With 25 minutes left to run, Gary was now right behind Blomqvist and the pair duelled for the second time in the race.

With Blomqvist initially staying out in front, Gary had to think about Maxime Martin who was following just behind and sensibly waited for the perfect opportunity to launch his assault. Getting another good run out of turn two, Gary took to the outside running down the hill and with his grip advantage, Gary pulled off a fantastic move to drive right around the outside of Blomqvist to move himself up the order.

With Gary finally released, he began to hunt down the leading Audi’s but was on the radio to his team saying he wasn’t sure his tyres would be able to last the distance. With just fifteen minutes left to run in race two, Auer’s spin would bring out the safety car to add a final dose of drama to the race.

The Indycar-style restart saw Gary get a good restart and as he concentrated on his exit from turn one, Gary got a tremendous exit out of turn one and was catching Wittmann and Ekstrom heading up the hill. As Wittmann and Ekstrom battled in front, Gary was in the perfect position to make the most of their duel and running down in turn three, Gary had a great run on Wittmann.

Squeezing down the inside of turn three, Gary pulled off a great move on Wittmann to gain another position as he moved into 6th place with just seven-minutes of the race left to run.

Now behind Ekstrom, Gary was looking much quicker in his Mercedes and started to pressure Ekstrom’s Audi as they headed up the hill into turn two. Shooting deep on the outside into the corner, Gary then switched back on Ekstrom in an attempt to command the inside. Ekstrom however, saw Gary plotting his move and took to the inside before Gary, this then forced Gary to switch back again as Gary drove around the outside of Ekstrom to complete a brilliant move on the Swede.

Now in 5th place, Gary was then handed another place as Jamie Green’s Audi failed on him with little more than a minute on the clock left to run. Crossing the finishing line in 4th place, Gary completed a dazzling performance in Spielberg to finish as the highest Mercedes-AMG driver.

"I'm pleased. I had a good qualifying and qualified in P6. Then I got a good start, but felt something odd just before I pitted. I thought maybe there was a lot of pickup on the tyres. The car felt good on the fresh set of tyres after the stop, so I was happy. Still, it was a very long stint, and I had to look after the tyres a bit. I managed, though, to hold on to P7 and then overtook two cars driven by Marco and Eki on the restart. I crossed the line in P4 thanks to Green and his problem. That was really good. It's not ideal but it was the best possible result, given the pace we had this weekend."

11th in the Drivers’ Championship, Gary will now head from Styria to Hockenheim for the DTM season finale, 13th - 15th October, when the last two races of the year will be contested at what is a home fixture for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. 


#2 Gary Paffett | Round Eight - Red Bull Ring


FP1: 5th (1:23.485, +0.218)

FP2: 7th (1:22.520, +0.383)
Q1: 15th (1:22.598, +0.625)
Race 1: 17th

FP3: 4th (1:22.287, +0.228)
Q2: 6th (1:22.243, +0.288)
Race 2: 4th