DTM: Paffett, Spengler and Green ready for title showdown at Hockenheim
By Berthold Bouman
DTM championship leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes Team HWA), second place man Bruno Spengler (BMW Team Schnitzer) and third place man Jamie Green (Mercedes Team HWA), are all geared up for the season finale at the German Hockenheimring. These three drivers are the only ones who can still win the 2012 DTM title.
Paffett, who has been leading the championship since the very first race at Hockenheim in April, has lost most of the advantage he had in the standings, as after nine races, Spengler is only three points, and Green 18 points behind him.
Paffett, who has won two races this season, is confident he can grab the title on Sunday. “In the past, Hockenheim has always been a good stomping ground for me — at no other track have I won more DTM races and finished so frequently on the podium as at the Hockenheimring,” said the Briton. And he added, “At the season opener in Hockenheim five and a half months ago, Jamie and I secured a one-two win. I would like to be in contention for another win in the finale at Hockenheim and hopefully secure the championship.”
Spengler won three races this season and is already in ‘racing mode’ after he arrived at the Hockenheimring on Thursday. BMW joined Audi and Mercedes this year, and the results have certainly exceeded the Canadian’s expectations. Spengler will be fighting for the title for the third time in his DTM career, but it would be a major achievement if he could grab the title for BMW in the year they made their return. How did he prepare for such a task?
”I’ve done a lot of fitness training. Then, on Thursday, I came to Hockenheim. From now on, I’m in racing mode. Before qualifying I do a lap of the track in my head with my eyes closed. People watching on TV will probably have seen me doing this from time to time. Apart from that, I always put my left racing shoe on before my right. I do that before every race,” Spengler explained.
“I’m not thinking about how the past races went at all. I’m going into the final in neutral and — as always — I’ll give the best performance I can together with BMW Team Schnitzer. Then we’ll see what comes out of it at the end. We can all be very happy with what we’ve already achieved in 2012!”
Green, who won one race this season, was less successful at the start of the season but by continuously scoring points has made his way back to the top again. Although he’s perhaps the underdog, he still is in a position to win the DTM championship,” I still have a chance of winning the championship in our home race at the season finale in Hockenheim.
“It’s possible to make up an 18-point deficit with the new system of scoring, but of course, I will have to wait and see what results Gary and Bruno Spengler achieve this weekend before I dare look at the standings.”
Tomorrow morning is the final free practice session, and in the afternoon the all important qualifying session, with the usual final top four shoot-out for the last pole position of the 2012 season.