The DTM heads to Red Bull Ring in Austria this weekend for the fourth race of 2012. Gary Paffett heads the championship ahead of this weekend’s race after a stunning season start with two victories and a second place.
“Three races, two wins and one second place – the season could hardly have started better for me. Everything about our new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé is first-class, and it has shown itself to be fast on all types of track. In Spielberg, though, we’re expecting some new challenges,” said Paffett.
One of the main challenges will come from BMW and Bruno Spengler who is closest to Paffett in the championship.
“I cannot complain about the season so far, but you just cannot afford to take the DTM for granted. We will have to gain valuable experience with every lap we complete with the BMW M3 DTM in Spielberg. This has worked very well and effectively at all the races so far, and I obviously hope that this will be the case again this time. I really like the circuit. I set the fastest race lap in Spielberg in 2011. If the BMW M3 DTM is as good there as it has been recently, then I should be able to attack at the front of the field again,” said Spengler.
While BMW and Mercedes have been on the top of the podium, Audi has so far claimed third as best result and top Audi driver Mattias Ekström is modest but hopeful in his expectations ahead of this weekend after a struggling weekend at Brands Hatch.
“I’m looking forward to traveling to Spielberg. I’ve got fond memories of the good, old days there. Last year was an exception – I think that was the worst race in my whole career. I’m certain of one thing, though: This can’t be topped, things can only get better. We’re going to analyze where we can improve in order to finally be able to battle for the big points again,” said Ekström.
Championship leader Paffett is on his own on 68 points, with Spengler in second on 43 points. Things are considerably closer for third with Ekström on 35 points, just one point ahead of second best Mercedes driver in the form of Jamie Green.
“So far this year, the field has been evenly matched on all types of track, and I’m expecting it to be very tight in Spielberg too. But we’ve proved that our Mercedes AMG C-Coupé can be competitive on all circuits, and we’re intending to demonstrate that again in Spielberg,” said Green.
Action at Red Bull Ring starts on Friday with free practice at 13.35 CET, qualifying on Saturday at 13.40 and the race start at 13.30 on Sunday.