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General:
Stern challenge awaits Gary Paffett

Posted 30th May 2018

After two victories from the first four races of the serious, Gary Paffett now heads to Hungary for the third round of the 2018 DTM season at the Hungaroring, Budapest.

Gary’s dream start to his fifteenth and final season of the DTM has seen the Mercedes ‘Team Captain’ record two race victories along with another podium finish in the first four races of the season and he heads to Budapest second in the Drivers’ Championship with a tally of 71 points - just one point shy of Timo Glock.

"We've made an excellent start to the year, but the weekend at the Lausitzring was still not perfect. In qualifying on Saturday, I really didn't do a good job. I qualified 14th and finished ninth in the race. But I made up for it on Sunday by qualifying third and winning the race. Two wins from four races and one more podium result mean that it has been a near-perfect start to the year for me.”

The Hungaroring has historically been a difficult track for Mercedes and Gary in the past, with Gary only making the points twice in the five races he has contested there - with 2017 marking his best results as he finished the weekend’s race in 7th and 9th place.

The 4.381-kilometre Hungaroring suits high-downforce packages and since its return to the DTM calendar in 2014, after a 26-year absence, Audi has been the brand to beat in Hungary. However, this year’s less-downforce cars should open the door for any driver or team to steal the show this weekend and Gary is hoping to have a successful trip to Hungary this weekend.

“The cars and the team have just been fantastic so far, and we started the year really strong. We want to try and keep this form going in Budapest. I like the track and haven't been on the podium there yet, but I certainly intend to put that right next weekend."

On the back of Mercedes’ strong start to the year, Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM, wants to keep the success continuing into Budapest this weekend.

"After three victories in four races, we are obviously mega pleased with our start to the season. We couldn't have wished for a better one. However, we're still at an early stage of the campaign. So far, we have competed at Hockenheim and at the Lausitzring which are two tracks that have very much favoured us in recent years. Now we're off to the Hungaroring which has not been a particularly good place for us recently. Consequently, we have to wait and see how the teams measure up to each other in Budapest. Naturally, we aim to be successful there as well. With five of our squad in the Top Six of the championship, we have delivered a strong team performance so far. We intend to build on that in Hungary."

The weekend gets underway on Friday with the first practice session of the weekend at 15:05 (BST). Saturday and Sunday both follow the same schedule with qualifying at 10:20 followed by the day’s race at 12:30.