Mercedes duo shines in Oschersleben

Despite the fact that he drives last year's car, former DTM champion Gary Paffett clinched his tenth win in the series, ahead of fellow Briton Paul di Resta in a two-year old AMG Mercedes C-Class. It was a tough day for the 2007-spec cars, as DTM newcomer Mike Rockenfeller grabbed the final spot on the podium in a 2006 Audi.

"A result like a dream", Paffett said after clinching his 10th career win. "I had never expected to win my second DTM race after a one-year break. My perfect start and the team's great strategy were key. The car ran really well already in qualifying. I thank everybody for their super job."

DTM returnee Paffett proved his skills and what can be achieved with an older car. His pace in the season opening race already matched those of the 2007-spec cars driven by fellow Mercedes drivers Bernd Schneider and Mika Häkkinen. On Saturday, the Briton grabbed eight on the grid, not an ideal spot on the tight and twisty track like Oschersleben. In the race, Paffett delivered a strong performance, with consistent fast lap times and a perfect pit strategy.

Reigning Formula 3 Euroseries champion Paul di Resta, who had an amazing DTM debut in Hockenheim, was up for more on Oschersleben's Motorsport Arena. But unlike the previous round of the German-based touring car series, the Scotsman benefited from excellent strategy and pit service to elevate him 11th on the grid to the second step of the podium. Still, Di Resta did all the rest: keeping himself out of trouble and on the same pace with Paffett.

Pole sitter Mika Häkkinen was chasing his second career win in the DTM, but the former Formula 1 double world champion had a tough time battling youngster Mike Rockenfeller. DTM newcomer Rockenfeller joined the Finn on the front row of the grid, passing him right after the start. The two would later find each other engaged in a fierce battle for third place, that resulted in contact through turn two. As a consequence, Häkkinen had to make an extra pit stop to replace a punctured tire, relegating him to the tail end of the field.

'Rocky' eventually secured the last available spot on the podium to defend Audi's honor. "I was fighting hard with Mika, but it was hard and fair", the Audi Sport Team Rosberg said. Häkkinen later told the media that he has is not upset, even praising Rockenfeller's bald move.

Germany's Timo Scheider drove the highest finishing 2007-spec car to fourth, ahead of fellow Audi driver and countryman Martin Tomczyk. Mattias Ekström of Sweden, winner of the inaugural race of the season finished seventh after receiving a drive-through penalty for a jump start. DTM reigning champion Bernd Schneider (2007 AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished sixth, splitting the trio of works Audis, while the 2006 Mercedes of Alexandros Margaritis grabbed the last point at stake, in eighth.

No more than a month ago, many doubted Norbert Haug's words saying that older spec cars have a chance to compete at the top this year, but the chubby Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief proved prophetic in the two races run this year, that both saw 2005 and 2006 Mercedes cars mixing up with the up-to-date ones.

In the overall ranking, Paul di Resta is third with 12 points, tied with Audi drivers Mattias Ekström and Martin Tomczyk, a situation like in Formula 1. The third DTM round of the season is scheduled for May 18-20 on the EuroSpeedway.
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