When Paffett didn’t win the title after all…
The first half of the 2018 DTM season couldn’t have run clearly far better for Gary Paffett. Prior to the start into the second half of the season that will be held this weekend at Brands Hatch, the Briton holds a 27-pont lead over his toughest rival, fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Paul Di Resta. Behind the Scot, Timo Glock follows in third position – but hefty 47 points behind the championship leader. A very promising position in the battle for the title for Gary Paffett indeed.
But may the ‘half-time champion’ really hope for prevailing, in the end? DTM.com took a look at the stats and according to them, the prospects for the 2005 champion look bright. Since the current scoring format (25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1) was introduced, five of the six drivers who held the lead at season half-time also won the title, in the end. The 2012 season, however, was the exception that proves the rule. And the driver who had to cope with this exception was none other than Gary Paffett. In the second half of that season, Bruno Spengler delivered in amazing style to steal the title, in the end.
In 2012, Bruno Spengler scored the major coup
In the years 2012 to 2014, the DTM calendar comprised only 10 races, one per race meeting. Six years ago, Gary Paffett held the lead at season half-time with 95 points on his tally, followed by Jamie Green (65) and Spengler (58). In the end, Canada’s Spengler won the title in the BMW comeback season with 149 points, with Paffett (145) and Green (121) coming second and third respectively. With three wins in the last races plus a lot of points scored in the other championship rounds her succeeded in scoring the major coup - and Paffett lost his 37-point half-time lead over the Canadian.
In the following year, Mike Rockenfeller was the championship leader after the first half of the season with 69 points, just two points ahead of Spengler. Third position was held by Christian Vietoris. In the end, this year’s Mercedes-AMG reserve driver (77 points) dropped back to fourth but Spengler had to cope with an ever worse second half of the season. He added just 15 points to his tally and with a total of 83 he finished third. While August Farfus virtually rocketed up the ranking, in the second half. The Brazilian added 83 points to the 33 he had scored in the first half and with his total of 116 points he leaped up from sixth to second place.
From 18th to 6th place: Martin Tomczyk makes for the biggest comeback
In 2014, there were no changes on the first two positions but Marco Wittmann extended his lead over Mattias Ekström in the final five races from 20 to 50 points. With 156 points, the BMW driver won his first DTM title, followed by the Swede (106) and Mike Rockenfeller (72). Bruno Spengler who held the third position with 41 points after the first half scored only once in the second by finishing 10th at the Red Bull Ring and dropped back to 11th. While Martin Tomczyk move up the ranking. The Audi driver made it to the top five in all the five races to score a total of 49 points and leap from 18th to sixth position in the championship.
From the 2015 season, each race meeting comprised two championship rounds. Due to the additional races, the field was even closer than before – and so, just a fistful points less or more could make for the crucial difference between triumph and defeat. At season half-time, Wehrlein held the lead with 94 points, followed by Mattias Ekström (86) and Edoardo Mortara (83). And the Mercedes-AMG driver also won the title – with 169 points – thus defeating Jamie Green (150) and Ekström (147).
2016: Three wins in the last five races aren’t enough for Mortara
In 2016, Edoardo Mortara thrilled the fans with an amazing comeback – but in the end, this wasn’t enough for winning the title. At season half-time, the Mercedes-AMG driver held third position, 20 points behind championship leader Marco Wittmann (93 points) and 10 behind Wickens. ‘Edo’ celebrated three of his five wins in the last five races of the season and in the end, he would have needed just four more points to prevent Wittmann (206) from celebrating his second title. Jamie Green (145) came third.
Last year the DTM enthusiasts could witness the motor-racing fairytale of a rookie. In his debut season, René Rast secured the title in a heart-stopping finish at the Hockenheimring. The gap between Rast (99), Lucas Auer (95) and Ekström (93) already was tiny at season half-time. In the second half, Auer (136 points) dropped back to sixth, while Audi’s René Rast (179) succeeded in defending his wafer-thin lead against Ekström (176) and Green (173).
In consideration of all this information, Paffett’s prospects seem to be bright indeed. And with a good start into the second half of the season – this weekend at Brands Hatch – the Mercedes-AMG driver can score further important points on the way to the title – or lose them. The championship remains thrilling!