Bruno Spengler took pole for Sunday's season-opener at Hockenheim

Bruno Spengler has helped reverse the form book by getting a Mercedes-Benz pole position for Sunday’s season-opening race of the DTM championship when he qualified fastest in the final shoot-out at Hockenheim today.

After rival Audi had locked out the top three positions in each of the opening practice sessions held to-date, Spengler used his new front splitter to good effect, going a confidence-boosting fastest in the third phase of qualifying to head into the final, single-lap stage of the session.

The biggest surprise of qualifying came in the form of Gary Paffett, with the lead HWA Team driver sliding backwards into the barriers at the Sachs Kurve on his opening lap of Q1. Out came the red flags and Paffett took no further part in qualifying, meaning he will start from last place for tomorrow’s race.

Organisers decided to abandon Q1 and promote everyone into the second phase of qualifying – a busier session that saw nine drivers knocked out of the running to make it into Q3.

The session should have seen the remaining 2009-spec runners comfortably through into the third phase of qualifying, but Jamie Green capped off a difficult session for the HWA outfit by failing to get no higher than 14th-fastest in his return outing in the newer equipment.

The absence of Paffett and Green saw the less-fancied Martin Tomczyk, Maro Engel and Miguel Molina manage to make it into Q3, although they would line up slowest in this session.

The fourth and final stage of qualifying saw Spengler go through along with Ralf Schumacher, Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekström.

Ekström was the slowest of the runners to scrape into Q4, but he set an impressive benchmark time of 1:34.420, which neither Scheider (who ran wide on his hot-lap) nor Schumacher was able to better.

It was then left to Spengler to deny Audi a pole position result, and a bertter final sector proved just the ticket for him to pinch pole, having been evenly matched with Ekström on sector times in the first two splits of the lap.

 

2011 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Race of Hockenheim Qualifying Results:

Driver Entrant / Car
1. Bruno Spengler CDN HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009 Mercedes 1:34.270 (Q4)
2. Mattias Ekström SWE Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009 Audi 1:34.402 (Q4)
3. Ralf Schumacher DEU HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009 Mercedes 1:34.577 (Q4)
4. Timo Scheider DEU Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009 Audi 1:35.434 (Q4)
5. Mike Rockenfeller DEU Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009 Audi 1:34.194 (Q3)
6. Martin Tomczyk DEU Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008 Audi 1:34.285 (Q3)
7. Maro Engel DEU Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008 Mercedes 1:34.386 (Q3)
8. Miguel Molina ESP Abt Audi A4 DTM 2008 Audi 1:35.268 (Q3)
9. Christian Vietoris DEU Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008 Mercedes 1:34.445 (Q2)
10. Edoardo Mortara ITA Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008 Audi 1:34.386 (Q2)
11. Renger can der Zande NED Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008 Mercedes 1:34.475 (Q2)
12. Oliver Jarvis GBR Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009 Audi 1:34.559 (Q2)
13. David Coulthard GBR Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008 Mercedes 1:34.698 (Q2)
14. Jamie Green GBR HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009 Mercedes 1:34.720 (Q2)
15. Filipe Albuquerque POR Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008 Audi 1:34.758 (Q2)
16. Susie Stoddart GBR Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008 Mercedes 1:34.778 (Q2)
17. Rahel Frey SUI Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008 Audi 1:35.403 (Q2)
18. Gary Paffett GBR HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009 Mercedes no time (Q1)

[Original image via DTM official site]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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