Motorsport: Paul Di Resta targets F1 supremacy as he takes DTM title

Bathgate's Paul di Resta clinched the DTM Championship in the season finale in China and then confirmed his next ambition is to be crowned Formula One World Champion.

The 24-year-old Scot, whose promotion from reserve and test driver to a full race seat at Force India for 2011 is expected to be confirmed in the next few weeks, gave his first public hint of the private talks going on behind the scenes.

"I've now won the McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award and the Euro F3 Championship; these are all big things you want to win in your life," the 24-year-old said in Shanghai yesterday.

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"DTM is a major title and I'm really chuffed to have won it, especially having previously finished second and third. It's another tick in my book and I just want to enjoy it now.

"Regarding the future, I've been test and reserve driver with Force India this season. They gave me a great opportunity and I've loved being part of the team. It's no secret I always wanted to be part of a Formula One team.

"I'm certainly hoping I can get a seat there next year because I'd love to continue a long relationship with them. My dream is to become Formula One World Champion, and that's the next box in my book I've got to tick off. I'll keep praying it happens."

While speculation continues that Di Resta — who beat current F1 world champ Sebastian Vettel to the 2006 Euro F3 title — will replace current Force India racer Tonio Liuzzi in the F1 car next season, the Scot has consistently ignored the rumours to focus on his DTM bid.

After a shaky start to the season — with hindsight, a direct result of attending the opening series of flyaway F1 grands prix — Di Resta soon found himself trailing Mercedes team-mate, Canadian Bruno Spengler, by 17 points.

But the Scot dominated the second half of the season, ultimately outscoring the more experienced Spengler 46 points to 24.

Di Resta went into the final weekend three points behind Spengler, who then 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 Gary Paffett, the 2005 champion, started second on the grid alongside polesitter Di Resta and six points adrift in the title race. As long as the Scot finished in the top four, the title was his.

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"Of course, that sounds very straightforward," Di Resta continued. "We all know anything can happen in motorsport; a puncture and the title would have gone. Gary could be 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 and brought the car home in second place behind Gary."

That triggered huge celebrations in the Scot's Mercedes garage and Di Resta — whose Merc team-mate and Formula One grand prix winner David Coulthard finished eighth to score his first DTM point — admitted he was glad he'd rearranged his flight back from China.

"I'd originally planned to get the early flight back to the UK on Monday," he continued, "but I'm glad I changed it to the later flight. DC's in charge of the celebration party and I think we're in for a bit of a blast."