Mercedes-AMG’s Gary Paffett says securing his second Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters title is “absolutely incredible,” and described it as the best day of his life.
The 37-year-old has been a stalwart in the series with Mercedes, winning his first title in 2005, and having to wait 13 years until being crowned champion for the second time.
Paffett went wheel-to-wheel with title rival René Rast in the opening race of the weekend, with the pair swapping positions multiple times before the Mercedes racer was forced to settle for second.
As erstwhile standings leader Paul Di Resta fell by the wayside, Rast continued his charge to score six consecutive victories by winning the second race, but Paffett stayed out of trouble to take the title by four points.
He described the feeling as “incredible,” especially due to the long wait he has endured since his first title in 2005.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” said Paffett. “This is the best day in my life. The first title in 2005 came along so soon.
“I’ve spent the last 13 years working to get back to the top. It’s taken a long time, but this year, the team gave me a great car.
“I’ve always enjoyed driving it in qualifying. I still can’t quite believe it.”
Despite appearing calm and collected in the final race – running in a lonely third to the flag to win the championship – Paffett admitted his mind did start to wander in the closing laps.
This was made particularly pertinent as it was Paffett’s final race in the DTM after it was announced Mercedes will not compete in 2019, instead switching to a Formula E programme.
“I was out there on my own for most of the race and had plenty of time to think about the situation,” said Paffett.
“Towards the end, I was thinking to myself ‘Now there are only five laps to go in my DTM career’ and then ‘only 4, 3, 2, 1…’. At one point, I almost spun off because of that.
“But it’s a fantastic feeling to have won the title. I’ve had such a great time with this team. Many thanks to every single member of the team for all the hard work they’ve put into the car. Anyway, we’ve done it now!”