Mike Rockenfeller has claimed his first ever DTM pole position with a sensational qualifying effort at a very hot Brands Hatch today.
The Abt Audi driver was quickest overall in the final one-lap shootout for pole position, an impressive performance considering he had just recently recovered from his injuries sustained in a shocking crash during the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The first phase of qualifying was scrapped after Filipe Albuquerque crashed out at Druids, causing the red flags to be thrown. All drivers – bar the Portuguese rookie – were allowed through to the second phase of qualifying, which would see a field of seventeen reduced to just eight.
It was a frantic session that saw the entire field split by just six-tenths of a second. After his rapid efforts in practice earlier today, Ralf Schumacher staked his claim for another pole position by going quickest with a 41.917 (the quickest time across all phases of qualifying), with Paffett, Tomczyk and Rockenfeller in hot pursuit.
Timo Scheider was a surprise elimination in Q2; he will start from 12th place.
Sadly for the home fans, three of the grid’s five local drivers were knocked out, with Oliver Jarvis (14th), David Coulthard (16th) and Susie Stoddart (17th) giving themselves plenty of work ahead of tomorrow’s race.
The third phase of qualifying saw Q2’s top-three also joined by Miguel Molina, Jamie Green, Mattias Ekström and Bruno Spengler, and the home crowd would see both of its remaining representatives make the final four cut, with Green’s 41.959 being the quickest, ahead of Tomczyk, Rockenfeller and Paffett. Ekström, Spengler, a disappointed Schumacher and Molina were sidelined.
Despite qualifying sixth-fastest, championship leader Bruno Spengler will starts two spots lower after being penalised by stewards for using a set of unmarked slick tyres in free practice that hadn’t been allocated to his Mercedes. His HWA team was also fined €5,000 for the indiscretion.
The final single-lap shootout saw Paffett – as the slowest of the top-four – hustle his Mercedes around first, posting a lap time of 42.288.
Rockenfeller was next up, and he would better this effort with a 42.090, which would prove untouchable for both Tomczyk and Green.
2011 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Race of Brands Hatch Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entrant / Car|
|1.||Mike Rockenfeller||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||42.090||(Q4)|
|2.||Gary Paffett||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||42.288||(Q4)|
|3.||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||42.297||(Q4)|
|4.||Jamie Green||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||42.345||(Q4)|
|5.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||42.039||(Q3)|
|6.||Bruno Spengler*||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||42.068||(Q3)|
|7.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||42.080||(Q3)|
|8.||Miguel Molina||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2008||42.121||(Q3)|
|9.||Edoardo Mortara||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||42.070||(Q2)|
|10.||Maro Engel||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||42.090||(Q2)|
|11.||Christian Vietoris||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||42.093||(Q2)|
|12.||Timo Scheider||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||42.103||(Q2)|
|13.||Renger van der Zande||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||42.223||(Q2)|
|14.||Oliver Jarvis||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||42.263||(Q2)|
|15.||Rahel Frey||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||42.275||(Q2)|
|16.||David Coulthard||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||42.320||(Q2)|
|17.||Susie Stoddart||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||42.554||(Q2)|
|18.||Filipe Albuquerque||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||no time||(Q1)|
* Denotes two-place grid penalty for technical infringement during free practice
[Original image via DTM official site]