Paffett Sees Closer DTM Battle in 2011

Mercedes-Benz may have dominated the 2010 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) Series, but that isn't to mean the upcoming campaign would be the same picnic for the Stuttgart-based manufacturer. And that's not some threat issued by rivals Audi, but the personal view of former DTM champion and current Merc works driver Gary Paffett.

Having challenged for the DTM title in 2010 until one point – together with teammates Paul di Resta (eventual winner) and Canadian Bruno Spengler – Paffett sees a much tighter battle between the two companies next year. And setting up a good base for that will be the fact that the DTM will have a new tire supplier in South Korean company Hankook.

Next year it will be a level playing field again. The tires are changing again so we need to get a handle on them as quick as we can,” said Paffett in a recent interview with British website Autosport. Until now, the series' official tire supplier was Dunlop.

We don't know exactly what the tires will be like yet, but it will be interesting to see what we get. It's going to be another interesting year, and I'm sure the cars (from Mercedes and Audi) are going to be close.”

In 2010, only Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom managed to score one win apiece for Audi, as compared to Mercedes' 9 victories. The Top 3 in the drivers' classification were all Mercedes Benz racers, while in the team's standings Salzgitter AMG Mercedes/Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG scored almost double the points of the best placed Audi squad, Audi Sport Team Abt.

This will be the last DTM season under the current technical regulations, before the new package comes into play – together with a third manufacturer, namely Bavarian company BMW – in 2012.
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