Di Resta clinches DTM titleposted in DTM28 | 11 | 2010

    BATHGATE'S PAUL DI RESTA clinched the DTM Championship, the toughest saloon car series in the world, when he finished second behind his Mercedes team-mate Gary Paffett in the season finale in Shanghai.

    And the 24-year-old Scot, who started the 60-lap race on the all-new 1.5-mile street circuit in China from pole position, immediately paid tribute to his dad Louis.

    "This championship is great for me and the team, but it's especially important to my family, my supporters and, most importantly, my dad," Di Resta, who led through the opening part of the race before slipping behind Paffett at the first pitstop, said today.

    "He was the one who gave me the opportunity to go racing when I was a kid and if it hadn't been for his commitment and belief, I wouldn't be where I am today. At the end of the day he's put way more effort into this than anyone else. So I've got to say a big thanks to him."

    Di Resta went into the final weekend three points behind championship leader Bruno Spengler, but the Canadian had a disastrous qualifying and started a lowly 17th on the grid. He recovered to finish 13th in his Mercedes, but out of the points.

    Englishman Paffett, the 2005 champ, started second on the grid alongside Di Resta and six points adrift in the title race and the Scot knew as long as he finished in the top four the title was his.

    "Of course, that sounds very straightforward," Di Resta, who admitted he didn't sleep well last night before the race, continued. "But we all know anything can happen in motorsport. It would just have taken a puncture and the title would have gone.

    "Gary could go a bit more aggressive on the strategy whereas I had to play safe in case there was a safety car or a red flag. I just concentrated on doing what I had to do.

    "I was constantly being kept up-to-date by my pitcrew with everything else that was happening in the race, but I never took anything for granted and I certainly never thought the championship was clinched until I took the chequered flag."

    Di Resta, who is expected to be confirmed as a 2011 Force India Formula One racer in the next few weeks, was the most consistent driver through 2010 winning three races and finishing runner-up three times.

    The Scot finished the season four points ahead of Paffett, with Spengler slipping back to third, a further one point adrift of Di Resta.

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    Jim McGill

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