Mattias Ekström has kept his faint championship hopes alive by clinching pole position for tomorrow’s DTM race at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit. The Audi driver lapped half-a-second faster than his nearest competitors in the top-four shootout for pole position.
The Swede needs to claim victory at tomorrow’s race and the season-ending round at Hockenheim to have any hope of claiming the championship.
Ekström’s cause was helped by his main championship challengers, Bruno Spengler and series leader Martin Tomczyk, being eliminated in the third phase of qualifying – the pair will start well down the order in 12th and 10th places.
It was a very interesting qualifying session, which saw a bunch of more-fancied drivers eliminated from proceedings in an extended third phase of qualifying, which was brought about by Edoardo Mortara bringing Q2 to a premature halt when he spun.
This meant that thirteen drivers (instead of the usual eight) would be competing for the four spots available in the final pole shoot-out, and it was really going to be a question of who could get a clear lap.
And it was a surprise to see the likes of Filipe Albuquerque, David Coulthard and Renger van der Zande – all equipped with older-spec chassis’ – managing to claim a spot apiece in the final reckoning alongside Ekström.
For Coulthard and rookie drivers Albuequerque and van der Zande, the result would represent their best qualifying performance by some margin.
2011 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Race of Valencia Qualifying Results:
|Driver||Entrant / Car|
|1.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||1:30.606||(Q4)|
|2.||Filipe Albuquerque||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||1:31.021||(Q4)|
|3.||Renger van der Zande||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||1:31.173||(Q4)|
|4.||David Coulthard||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||1:31.338||(Q4)|
|5.||Mike Rockenfeller||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||1:30.202||(Q3)|
|6.||Miguel Molina||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2008||1:30.212||(Q3)|
|7.||Timo Scheider||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||1:30.234||(Q3)|
|8.||Oliver Jarvis||Abt Audi A4 DTM 2009||1:30.240||(Q3)|
|9.||Gary Paffett||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||1:30.297||(Q3)|
|10.||Ralf Schumacher*||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||1:30.304||(Q3)|
|11.||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||1:30.554||(Q3)|
|12.||Jamie Green||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||1:30.602||(Q3)|
|13.||Bruno Spengler||HWA Mercedes C-Class 2009||1:30.621||(Q3)|
|14.||Edoardo Mortara||Rosberg Audi A4 DTM 2008||no time||(Q2)|
|15.||Maro Engel||Mücke Mercedes C-Class 2008||1:30.583||(Q1)|
|16.||Christian Vietoris||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||1:30.587||(Q1)|
|17.||Rahel Frey||Phoenix Audi A4 DTM 2008||1:30.712||(Q1)|
|18.||Susie Stoddart||Persson Mercedes C-Class 2008||1:30.739||(Q1)|
* Three-place grid penalty for an infringement at the previous round
[Images via DTM Media]