Paffett plans to strike back and reclaim the DTM Championship

RACE WINNER: Gary Paffett celebrates his triumph at the Lausitzring by climbing on his Mercedes AMG C-Coup�
RACE WINNER: Gary Paffett celebrates his triumph at the Lausitzring by climbing on his Mercedes AMG C-Coup�
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Suffolk speedster Gary Paffett hopes to build on his win last time out by clinching victory in the latest round of the DTM Championship on Sunday.

The former Haverhill resident, who now lives in a village just south of Bury St Edmunds, stormed to success at the Lausitzring on June 16 to end a poor start to the season.

Paffett — who is also a reserve and test driver for the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team — wants that to be the start of a run that culminates in him clinching his first title since 2004 and hopes to be back at the front at Germany’s Norisring this weekend.

“We had a difficult first couple of races, so to get a win was really good,” said Paffett, speaking at Silverstone a fortnight ago, where he was working for McLaren. “The championship was still okay, but the gap was getting bigger, so to get a win and peg things back a bit was really positive.

“We are really back in the fight and the speed of the car at the last race was very impressive, so we’re very positive going forwards and we can start to settle in and try and push to chase after the championship.”

The British driver was pipped to the DTM title in the final race of the season by Bruno Spengler, who is level on points with Mike Rockenfeller at the top of the championship standings, 12 points clear of Paffett.

“We had an incredible start last year and although it didn’t go quite so well at the start of this year, we’ve had a couple of positive results and a win now so we’ve got to do the opposite to what we did last year,” said Mercedes driver Paffett. “We’ve got to be chasing a little bit, but we’re not that far behind and we want to try and keep this form up for the rest of the year because at the end of last year we didn’t quite have the speed of the BMWs.

“Hopefully we can do a different job this year and start to get a few more podiums and a few more wins.”

DTM is a German touring car series that provided the stepping stone for Paul di Resta to reach Formula One and has also been contested by the likes of Mika Hakkinen.

n Great Finborough driver Oli Basey-Fisher heads to one of the most famous motor-racing circuits in the world this weekend for the latest round of the Ginetta Challenge.

Basey-Fisher, who is currently fifth in the championship, will attempt to negotiate his way through corners such as the high-speed Eau Rouge.