Bathgate’s Paul Di Resta, who narrowly missed out on the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) last season, marked his return to action by topping the timesheets in the first official practice at Dijon-Prenois, France.
The 22-year-old Scot, driving an all-new 2009-model Mercedes, splashed his way to a fastest lap of 1min 20.888secs as the rain made the 2.3-mile circuit treacherous.
“It’s great to get back behind the wheel of a race car,” Di Resta, who has still to be confirmed as an official Mercedes driver for this season, admitted today.
“We’ve worked hard on the car during the close season and we know we’re going to be quicker. Proving it today first time out was a real boost to every one in the team. The encouraging thing is we know there’s still a lot more to come. Now we can’t wait to go racing.”
Di Resta eclipsed fellow Merc driver, Bruno Spengler, by just 0.062secs. The Canadian in turn was followed by the fastest Audi A4 DTM driver, Swede Mattias Ekström, who was 0.404 seconds slower than Di Resta, on his fastest lap.
And while Dane Tom Kristensen was fourth in his Audi, Oban’s Susie Stoddart — who completed 38 laps — managed fifth-quickest, 0.709s slower than her fellow Scot. The season gets underway with the opening race at Hockenheim in four weeks.