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Rockenfeller: ‘Paffett was faster’

Photo by Audi AGAfter finishing second in the fourth round of the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller has conceded that race winner Gary Paffett was simply faster on raceday, and that he couldn’t have challenged for the lead.

Rockenfeller had started the race from sixth and following a strategic decision to switch to the softer option tyres after just four laps the German began to progress up the order. With ten laps to go after his final pitstop, Rockenfeller emerged on the tail of Paffett but was simply unable to challenge, with the Mercedes driver extending the gap at the front to 6.8 seconds by the end of the race.

“It was a very good race,” said Rockenfeller. “It’s important that I had a good race and scored some important points again. Starting from position six, we squeezed out the maximum. I even came close to being able to battle for victory but, in all fairness, you’ve got to admit that Gary (Paffett) was simply faster in the end. It was a clean race and we were quick.”

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Rockenfeller admitted that it was important to be scoring strong points now, as he is not a fan of the next event at the Norisring where he has only scored points on one previous occasion, with a sixth place finish in 2012.

“We’ve still got to improve some more, though: There are some tracks coming up, particularly the next one, where we haven’t been so strong up to now,” added Rockenfeller. “But we’re aiming and – have to – achieve the maximum there as well.”

Ernst Moser, Team Principal of Team Phoenix, admitted that he believes Rockenfeller could have won the race if his option tyres had held up a little better at the end of the race.

“We selected the right strategy again,” admitted Moser. “Rocky had a superb speed but was slowed a bit by (Robert) Wickens. After he had overtaken him, victory would have been possible but at the end of the stint on the option tires he had vibrations and we called him into the pits. Otherwise, he’d have passed (Gary Paffett).”

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