Gary Paffett wins DTM title in spite of René Rast’s six-pack
Gary Paffett is the 2018 DTM champion. Third place in Mercedes-AMG’s last DTM race was enough for the Brit to secure his second title win after 2005. “That is simply unbelievable,” Paffett shouted on the radio after crossing the finish line and thanked his team. “You have done a great job, we have deserved to win the title.” Victory in the final race of the season went to René Rast, who thus continued his winning streak in the 20th and final race of the season and scored his sixth consecutive victory. A new record. In the final DTM drivers’ standings, Rast eventually missed out on the title by merely four points. Behind Rast, BMW’s Marco Wittmann finished in second place. Winning the drivers’ title completes the triple for Mercedes-AMG, the Stuttgart-based brand already having secured the manufacturers’ and teams’ titles with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS prior to the final race.
DTM doyen Gary Paffett has secured his second major title, exactly 4,739 days after he had been able to celebrate as the DTM champion at Hockenheim as well. Since his debut in 2003, the eldest DTM driver in the field, aged 37, has competed in 185 DTM races. And his track record is considerable: 23 wins, 48 podium finishes and 17 pole positions are top achievements. “We have been working hard for 13 years to be back on the top step,” the new DTM champion said. “This is the best day of my life. Like a fairy tale. At the end, I was counting down the laps, the final laps in the car that I love so much.”
Paffett a merited champion
“Eventually, Gary kept his nerves in control and is a merited champion,” Berger continued. “That he is leaving the DTM is sad, but everybody is making mistakes sometimes. No, jokes aside: I wish him good luck for his new challenge. René deserves great respect, he is one of the drivers in this field who is impressing me most. He is a very clever guy. First and foremost, he is not only talented, he is also hardworking and that leads to the fact that he simply is always up there at the front.”
“Here at Hockenheim, we have staged a great show for the fans,” René Rast summed up the weekend that the Audi driver had put his mark on to a great extent. “Of course, I am a bit disappointed for not being on the top step in spite of six wins in a row. We have been working hard for this success. I am enjoying the DTM very much and I am really looking forward to next year.”
Slightly overshadowed by the main actors, other drivers showed great performances in the DTM finale, too: Marco Wittmann, who had started from pole position, finished second and Robin Frijns took the chequered flag in fifth place behind Nico Müller. The Dutchman showed great progress from last place on the grid and scored ten points as a reward.