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DTM Race Results Archive
Paffett lucky to escape injury in Norisring crash

Posted 5th July 2017

Gary Paffett made it seven-point scoring finishes this past weekend at the Norisring before a scary crash brought an end to his second race. Fortunately, Gary escaped major injury only suffering bruising to his shoulder and ribs.

Always a highlight of the DTM season, the only street circuit of the year – the Norisring – always provides dramatic races on the streets Nuremberg. The weekend started off well for Gary as he finished the weekend’s first practice session in 6th place and then went even better in the second session with a time of 48.006 that placed him in 3rd place.

Unfortunately for Gary, he couldn’t transfer this promising pace into qualifying as the Fitbit-sponsored driver ended the weekend’s first qualifying session in 13th place – leaving Gary with a lot of work to do in race one at the Norisring.

Race One

Between qualifying and race one, the skies above Nuremberg opened – leaving the track extremely wet and forcing the drivers to put on the wet weather tyres.

As the lights went out for race one, Gary got off the line well and was scrapping for his position as the drama entered turn one. With some drivers flying wide, not being able to judge the wet tarmac, Gary’s experience helped him keep it clean and get through turn one’s hairpin unscathed as he made his way up to 12th place.

As the drivers edged cautiously around the first few laps, the field navigated the track sensibly – with the grid knowing the smallest error of judgement could cost them their race.

Gary came into the pits from the drying Norisring track on lap 22 and rejoined the action on his slick tyres. With standing water still on the track off the racing line, overtaking moves would either be very brave or very risky. This theory was proven when Mike Rockenfeller dived down the inside of Edo Mortara – only for the Audi driver to outbrake himself and strike the back of Mortara’s Mercedes, sending him into a spin.

As Rockenfeller was given a drive through penalty for his optimistic move on Mortara, Gary was promoted inside the top ten and crossed the finishing line in 10th place to continue his point scoring streak that traces back to the very first race of the season. The result means that Gary is now second behind Audi driver Mattias Ekström (136) for points scoring finishes by current DTM drivers.

Gary was clearly disappointed with the lack of pace in his Mercedes during race one.

"It was obviously a chaotic start on wet weather tyres on a really wet track. OK, I didn't crash, which was good, but I wasn't in the right place and didn't gain any positions. That was a bit disappointing. We then struggled for pace. When the track started to dry out, the car was a bit better. In the dry, I was pretty happy with it. But to be honest, at that time the race was already over - we just didn't have a quick enough car.”

Race Two

Starting Sunday off with free practice, Gary finished the first session of the day in 8th place with a time of 47.850. In qualifying, Gary’s struggles with pace continued as he was only able to post a lap time of 47.495, only 0.243 seconds off pole sitter Tom Blomqvist but only enough to qualify him in 11th place for Sunday’s race.

When the lights went out for the start of Sunday’s race, Gary got off the line well and looked set to make up a few positions on his 11th place starting position. Heading into turn one however, Gary had to lift off the power to avoid collecting Marco Wittmann and this loss of momentum resulted in Gary losing a place to Rene Rast. Gary came fighting back instantly though and passed the rookie Rast a few corners later.

With most of the field opting for a very early pitstop, some as early as lap one, Gary came into the pits on lap five and came out ahead of the early stoppers. Now on cold tyres compared to the cars around him, Gary had to fight hard in order to make the strategy pay off.

Now in a battle with Farfus, Gary lost out to the Brazilian at the final corner but was right on his tail heading down the straight. Pulling to the outside of turn one, Gary went around the outside of Farfus in what was a great move from the Thunderhead-sponsored driver.

Now running just outside the top ten and still waiting on other drivers to pit, Gary passed Nico Mueller when the Audi driver ran wide at turn one and put himself right onto the back of Jamie Green.

With Green only having 5 DRS laps left and Gary with 13, Gary began pressuring Green and the pair had a fantastic battle over a number of laps. Gary could not find a way around Green and their battle was momentarily paused as Wickens and Rast came together, bringing out the first safety car of the weekend.

Now running in 11th place, the Indy-Car restart was as dramatic as it had promised to be. Fighting with several drivers, Gary’s name on the timing board was moving up and down as the field battled throughout the Norisring and Gary managed to keep his 11th place after the first lap – remaining hot on the tail of Green.

At the start of lap 33 and now running in 10th place after Spengler entered the pits for a puncture. Gary got a great run out of the final corner and had pulled alongside Green heading down the pit straight. Gary on the inside and Green on the outside with 200 metres to the braking zone, Gary had a huge twitch that sent him into the side of Green. Striking Green, Gary bounced of the Audi and straight into the barriers, ripping the body work off his Mercedes, bending his wheels and leaving Gary as a passenger as he flew down the straight with no brakes or steering while pirouetting into the heavy braking zone.

Unable to do anything about it, Gary’s Mercedes clattered into the side of Mike Rockenfeller’s Audi in what was a truly scary crash on the Nuremberg streets. Gary’s car came to a halt as did Rockenfeller’s as Paffett came on the team radio to tell the team, “it hurts but I think I am okay!”

An extremely scary crash plays testament to the safety of these DTM cars as both drivers were able to get out of their cars of their own accord to the applause of the 125,000 spectators.

Gary’s first reaction to getting out of the car was to go over to Mike Rockenfeller and make sure the German driver was okay before the pair were taken to the local hospital. Paffett escaped with bruising to his shoulder and ribs which was an extremely lucky result, while Rockenfeller sustained a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot.

Paffett reflected on a scary crash and sent his apologies to Rockenfeller for getting caught up in the crash and thanked all the medics who helped him.

"That was a bad smash, but I'm fine. I'm sorry that Rocky got hit and injured as a result. I hope he'll get well soon. My special thanks go to all the medics - both at the racetrack and in the hospital. They took excellent care of me." 

Gary now sits in 7th place in the Drivers’ Championship with 55 points as the DTM moves onto the Moscow Raceway for the fifth round of the season.


#2 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM)


FP1: 6th (48.320, +0.259)


FP2: 3rd (48.006, +0.192)

Q1: 13th (47.781, +0.309)

Race 1: 10th


FP3: 8th (47.850, +0.218)

Q2: 11th (47.495, +0.2432)

Race 2: DNF