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Paffett aiming for Lausitz podium

Photo by Daimler AGMercedes-Benz’s Gary Paffett is aiming for the podium at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters this weekend, having taken just three points finishes so far in 2013.

Paffett has scored a best result of fourth so far this season, which is significantly worse than at the equivalent time last season. In 2012 Paffett had already scored two wins and three podiums in the opening three races of the year.

“My season hasn’t got off to the start I would’ve liked, but the occasional run of results like this is part and parcel of racing,”admitted Paffett. “The encouraging news for us is that our race pace is good. If we can just qualify for the first couple of rows, we can then be contenders for the podium.

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“The standard of competition in the DTM is immense, and every race weekend is ferociously contested. Once again at the Lausitzring, much will depend on how well we get the car set up in Saturday’s free practice session.”

Paffett, who has a strong record at the east German circuit, is confident of a strong showing as the DTM makes its closest visit to the capital Berlin. The Brit, like his Mercedes team-mates, has struggled in qualifying so far in 2013 but has shown strong race pace.

“In 2005 when I won the title, I was on Mattias Ekström’s tail for a full 44 laps of the Lausitzring, and last year, it was a similar story with Bruno Spengler,” added Paffett. “So I’m curious about the extent to which DRS will increase the chances of overtaking: from what we’ve seen so far, it should now be easier to launch a successful attack on the car in front.”

Mercedes-Benz Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff says that the team have been working to boost their performances since the previous meeting in Austria, in particular in the all-important qualifying session.

“We must roll up our sleeves and do everything we can to boost our competitiveness,” said Wolff, who will be represented by Wolfgang Schattling at the Lausitzring. “Since the previous race at Spielberg, we have been carefully analysing the situation and working hard to ensure that our pace will be consistently fast at the Lausitzring, not just on Sunday but in Saturday’s qualifying as well. If we can manage to do that, I am convinced that our drivers have the talent and speed to build on past successes and to successfully challenge our rivals from Ingolstadt and Munich for victory.”

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