Gary Paffett won the season opener at Hockenheim in an AMG Mercedes C-Coupé. Paffett started the race from 6th place on the grid, finishing with a 4.7- second lead on Jamie Green in his Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. The win marks Gary Paffett's 18th in the DTM series, an impressive record.
Paffett said after the race “What a fantastic start to the new DTM era. My Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was tuned perfectly. After a difficult season in 2011, I am pleased to have found the way back to the podium top spot.”
Jamie Green in the other Mercedes finished the race in second to the delight of Mercedes. Green said “What a great way to start the 2012 season. The setup was perfect so a big thanks to my team. I got off to a great start and was able to overtake Mattias Ekström early on to take the lead. The contest with Gary was exciting and always very fair.”
Starting the race from third place on the grid, Dirk Werner in the BMW M3 DTM was hit by Mercedes driver Ralf Schumacher, he dropped to the back of the field. Bruno Spengler in the other BMW Bank M3 DTM was directly behind Schumacher at the time. He could do nothing to avoid a crash with the former Formula One driver, and had to retire from the race under the gaze of the BMW management.
Ralf Schumacher later finished in seventh and said: “result could have been better, but I made a mistake and got a penalty, which I have to accept. My pace was good, so I'm really looking forward to the race next weekend at the Lausitzring.”
David Coulthard who now races in the Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, finished in eighth position. He later said: “A P8 finish and three points in the first race of the season is a good result for me. The one-two victory for Gary und Jamie shows that our C-Coupé is very fast.”
Five Mercedes AMG C-Coupés finished in the Top 8 showing that they are the team to beat. The next race is in Lausitzring so all eyes will be on BMW to see if they can regain lost ground.