Gary Paffett celebrates victory at Brands Picture: Peter Still
Local favourite Gary Paffett enjoyed a weekend to remember at Brands Hatch, winning the third round of the DTM Championship at the circuit on which he learned to race.
The Bromley ace secured a fine pole position on Saturday and then led from lights to flag on Sunday, holding off the challenge of Bruno Spengler in a BMW and Audi's Mike Rockenfeller to lead the German Touring Car field in his Mercedes.
Paffett was never more than three seconds clear of Canadian Spengler on the track at any point of the race.
Paffett said: "It is very special, my first win here. I learnt to race cars at this circuit and to win here is an incredible feeling."
He added: "I hard to push hard to escape Bruno. I made an OK start but managed to pull out a few seconds for the pitstops. Bruno was keeping the pressure up - we were in control and we had the speed to pull away but it wasn't relaxing. You've got to stay in a rhythm, with the other cars you lose tenths and rhythm, and it's hard to keep up concentration."
The victory took Paffett 25 points clear at the top of the standings ahead of the fourth round in Austria, but the 31-year-old said: "It's difficult to think about the championship but we've had a great start to the season so we'll see how it goes."