Paffett soars as superlative start continues at Brands
Gary Paffett continued his near-perfect start to the 2012 DTM championship with a commanding victory on home soil at Brands Hatch.
The HWA Mercedes man, winner of the season-opener at Hockenheim and second at Lausitz, led from the start and eventually crossed the line five seconds ahead of Bruno Spengler’s Schnitzer BMW.
Paffett extended his championship lead over Spengler as a result, the Briton now 25 points clear after just three races.
Victory also boosted the 31-year-old McLaren F1 test and reserve driver in the Rankings, sending him 23 places up the order and into 77th – his best position for almost 12 months.
In the process he also jumped HWA Mercedes team-mate Christian Vietoris, moving into sixth in the DTM Rankings, and ostensibly into reach of all but topped-ranked Mattias Ekstrom (42).
Spengler’s second-place also produced Rankings gains, the 28-year-old Canadian jumping three spots to 69th. He is second only to Ekstrom in the DTM Rankings.
Between Spengler and Paffett, Mike Rockenfeller (69) and Jamie Green (76) enjoyed small gains, while Martin Tomczyk (73) fell heavily despite a fourth-place finish.
The 2011 series champion counted the cost of his dominant victory at the Red Bull Ring last year, the round dropped under the rollover system.
The subsequent loss of points dropped him 13 place as a consequence, sending him down to fourth behind Vietoris and Rockenfeller.
The latter rose two spots to 69th following his third-place finish, only his fifth DTM podium – and his first since August last year.
Green meanwhile finished down in eighth, but had the luxury of discarding a similar performance under the rollover system, helping him to gain two places.
The biggest Rankings gains came slightly lower down the field, as Augusto Farfus and Adrien Tambay – 11th and 12th respectively – gained more than 100 places collectively.
Farfus, competing in the Castrol EDGE-liveried RBM BMW, looked to be in the hunt for eighth until getting held up by Tambay.
11th was nevertheless enough to propel Farfus 48 places to 241st in the Rankings, the highest he has been since his days as a works BMW driver in the WTCC.
His gains were outdone by Tambay however, even if the French youngster did finish one place behind him on the road.
With no race to drop – the result of a bit-part season in 2011 – Tambay’s gains were exaggerated and he rocketed 87 spots to 347th.