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Paffett unsure of option tyres at Brands

Photo by Daimler AGMercedes-Benz’s Gary Paffett admits that he is not certain what the effect of the DTM’s new option tyres will be at Brands Hatch this weekend, as the German touring car series takes to British soil.

Paffett took victory in the 97-lap race in 2012 – his most recent in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters to-date. However the Brit has only taken the one podium in his home event, but takes consolation from his strong qualifying performances around the small circuit.

“I was on the front row of the grid each time in the last two races at Brands Hatch,” said Paffett, “so hopefully, I can build on that success again this year and fight for victory once more.”

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Paffett is full of praise for the short circuit, and admits that the DTM’s new-for-2013 innovations in DRS and option tyres are leading to much uncertainty ahead of Sunday’s second race of the season.

“The track itself is a lot of fun and yet at the same time can be a real challenge for drivers,” added Paffett. “Paddock Hill Bend is one of the best turns that you could ever hope to encounter in a racing car – it’s just incredible. The characteristics of the track are very different as compared to the season-opener at Hockenheim, and I wonder how the new option tyres will shape up under these circumstances and how they will affect the course of the race.”

Paffett’s HWA team-mate, German Christian Vietoris, added that due to the short and technical nature of the circuit there is little room to make up for errors – leading to qualifying typically being an extremely close affair. Indeed during Q1 in 2012 all 22 drivers in the field were covered by less than seven tenths of a second.

“Brands Hatch is a great track that I really like,” admitted Vietoris, who took his first podium last time out at the Hockenheimring. “The first turn is, to my mind, one of the Indy Circuit’s special challenges. A lap at Brands Hatch is extremely short, so the slightest mistake is punished immediately.

“This is especially true in qualifying, and last season, only 0.081 seconds separated the top five drivers in Q3. Me and Martin Tomczyk in fourth and fifth place posted the same time – 41.101 seconds. I achieved my lap time first and consequently progressed further in the quali to secure second place, my best position on the grid in the DTM.”

Joining Mercedes-Benz as guests this weekend will be Formula One drivers Paul di Resta and Jenson Button.

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