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Racing legend zooms in on Brands Hatch

PUBLISHED: 14:59 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:03 23 August 2010

WOKING, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 11:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and team McLaren Mercedes poses with former F1 world champion Damon Hill at a photo call during the Go Motorsport Launch at Paragon, headquaters of the McLaren Group, on June 11, 2008, in Woking, England  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

WOKING, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 11: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and team McLaren Mercedes poses with former F1 world champion Damon Hill at a photo call during the Go Motorsport Launch at Paragon, headquaters of the McLaren Group, on June 11, 2008, in Woking, England (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

A MOTOR-RACING legend paid tribute to the county s premier racing venue as the German touring cars series DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) started at the weekend. Ex-Formula One (F1) World Champion Damon Hill was at Ash-based Brands Hatch to present r

A MOTOR-RACING legend paid tribute to the county's premier racing venue as the German touring cars series DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) started at the weekend.

Ex-Formula One (F1) World Champion Damon Hill was at Ash-based Brands Hatch to present race winner Paul di Resta with the first-place trophy, while the current F1 world title holder Lewis Hamilton met fans and signed autographs.

Brands owner Jonathan Palmer has refuted claims in recent years that the north Kent track might once again stage F1 races in the future.

And 49-year-old Hill, who claimed the 1996 F1 world title, told the Times that Brands could lose its 'special charm' by opting to host the biggest series in motorsport again, following a 23-year hiatus.

He said: "I was champion at Brands in 1984 on a motorbike. I grew up at Brands and Silverstone, but Brands was more local to me because I was London-based.

"A modern Formula One track is a huge investment, but there's a strong place for Brands Hatch in motorsport.

"The DTM has put on great show here and that's a pretty high level of competition. And domestic racing is still strong with the British Touring Cars.

"This is a great place to come and view bike racing too and I think in some respects putting on a Grand Prix here would be detrimental to the other championships. It's got a good spectator relationship. If you brought Formula One here you would probably lose that.

"Brands Hatch is a special place to race. I like it and I think most drivers do. It's got elevation changes and is quite technical and you feel close to the crowd. That's a big thing in racing. People can see what you're doing and respond to that."

Mercedes driver di Resta claimed victory in Sunday's DTM race, while Bromley-born racer Gary Paffett was fourth.

See Times Sport for more race action and reaction from the event.

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