Audi driver Mattias Ekström has claimed pole position for tomorrow’s DTM season-opener at Hockenheim.
But the biggest story to come from qualifying was the better-than-expected performance of series returnee BMW, which had four of its six cars make the top-ten, with Dirk Werner making the pole shootout on his championship debut.
With at least one representative from all three manufacturers making the final shootout for pole, it was Ekström who drove a clean lap to claim top spot, while his final session rivals each made errors that robbed them of a shot at pole. Fellow Audi runner Edoardo Mortara aborted his shootout lap after a mistake, while Werner and Mercedes’ Jamie Green both ran wide on their timed laps.
The preceding three sessions of qualifying were closely-fought, with most of the drivers separated by mere tenths of a second at each knockout phase of qualifying.
With the sixteen-fastest runners making it out of the first stage of qualifying, the six slowest would be eliminated at the first hurdle. Despite showing decent pace in the earlier practice sessions, those to be knocked out of the reckoning were Miguel Molina, David Coulthard, DTM debutants Augusto Farfus and Roberto Merhi, and lady racers Susie Stoddart and Rahel Frey.
The highest-profile casualty of Q2 was last year’s Hockenheim podium finisher Ralf Schumacher, who was bundled out of a shot at Q3 by three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx – the Guernseyman clocked a quick enough lap on his last tour to ensure four M3s would be represented in the third phase of qualifying.
With ten cars left, Mike Rockenfeller set the early pace in Q3, only to see himself steadily fall down the timesheets as his rivals overhauled him. He just finished outside of a pole shootout berth and will start from fifth place.
Rockenfeller shares the third row of the grid with Gary Paffett, while Priaulx, Timo Scheider, Bruno Spengler and reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk complete the top-ten.
2012 DTM Race of Hockenheim – Qualifying Results:
|DRIVER||TEAM / ENTRY||RESULT|
|1.||Mattias Ekström||Abt Sportsline Audi||1:34.680||Q4|
|2.||Jamie Green||HWA Team Mercedes||1:34.895||Q4|
|3.||Dirk Werner||Team Schnitzer BMW||1:36.276||Q4|
|4.||Edoardo Mortara||Team Rosberg Audi||no time||Q4|
|5.||Mike Rockenfeller||Phoenix Racing Audi||1:34.264||Q3|
|6.||Gary Paffett||HWA Team Mercedes||1:34.287||Q3|
|7.||Andy Priaulx||Team RBM BMW||1:34.299||Q3|
|8.||Timo Scheider||Abt Sportsline Audi||1:34.389||Q3|
|9.||Bruno Spengler||Team Schnitzer BMW||1:34.512||Q3|
|10.||Martin Tomczyk||Team RMG BMW||1:34.819||Q3|
|11.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Team Mercedes||1:34.390||Q2|
|12.||Adrien Tambay||Audi Sport Team Abt||1:34.509||Q2|
|13.||Robert Wickens||Mücke Motorsport Mercedes||1:34.538||Q2|
|14.||Filipe Albuquerque||Team Rosberg Audi||1:34.555||Q2|
|15.||Christian Vietoris||HWA Team Mercedes||1:34.783||Q2|
|16.||Joey Hand||Team RMG BMW||1:35.140||Q2|
|17.||Miguel Molina||Phoenix Racing Audi||1:34.926||Q1|
|18.||David Coulthard||Mücke Motorsport Mercedes||1:34.932||Q1|
|19.||Augusto Farfus Jr||Team RBM BMW||1:35.104||Q1|
|20.||Robert Merhi||Persson Motorsport Mercedes||1:35.167||Q1|
|21.||Susie Wolff||Persson Motorsport Mercedes||1:35.776||Q1|
|22.||Rahel Frey||Audi Sport Team Abt||1:36.012||Q1|