Gary Paffett claimed his ninth DTM pole position at Brands Hatch yesterday for his home race. In spite of the result Paffett has told TouringCarTimes he still expects today’s race to be really tough.
The pole position was the 110th claimed by Mercedes and their 65th double pole with Christian Vietoris claiming second, his best DTM qualifying result. It was a result that Paffett wasn’t expecting: “It’s difficult to expect to be on pole, this year especially as it’s so close. You just have to do the best you can and if you qualify near the front you’ve done a good job. Coming to here, it’s a different circuit to what we’ve been on the first two races and we’re still getting used to these cars really so difficult to know what to expect. The car has been working well all weekend. We did some qualifying simulations and that was going well so I think we expected to be close to the front. Certainly our aim was to get to Q4 which we did. It’s an incredible result, it’s so very close that getting to Q4 is a great achievement”
The Mercedes driver told TouringCarTimes that claiming pole position at Brands Hatch was particularly important: “It’s very important, it’s important everywhere. Overtaking is relatively difficult, at Hockenheim it was possible and at Lausitzring it was near impossible. Here again it’s very difficult. I’ve overtaken a few cars here in the years I’ve raced here but not many. It’s only really possible to overtake if someone makes a mistake. On a circuit like this it’s very important to be starting at the front. So it certainly means a lot more than it does at other places.”
In spite of his belief that there will be limited opportunities for overtaking, Paffett still expects today’s 98-lap race to be difficult: “It’s still going to be really tough, it’s never going to be easy but if we can get a good start and get out in front at least we can run our own race and try and control things from the front. When you’re starting behind you’re having to follow people, having to see what their strategy is to try and react to try and beat them, but if you start at the front if you get a good start you can run your own race, which makes it a lot easier. We’ve shown the last two races us as a manufacturer and myself have had the fastest race pace of anyone. So I think if we can get a good start we should have good enough race pace to win.”