Mattias Ekstrom and Ralf Schumacher traded fastest times during Friday's practice session for the DTM round at the Norisring, with the Swede coming out on top.
HWA Mercedes man Schumacher led the way for much of the first half of the 90 minute session, before Abt Sportsline Audi driver Ekstrom stole top spot in the final few minutes.
The pair were again the men to beat in the second half of the session, but fell short of Ekstrom's benchmark of 49.893 seconds.
He was in fact the only driver to go below the 50 second mark, and had a relatively comfortable margin of 0.165s over Schumacher in the final standings.
Three-time Norisring victor Bruno Spengler made it three brands in the top three, 0.192s off the pace in his Schnitzer BMW.
Points leader Gary Paffett was fourth for Mercedes, just two thousandths of a second away from Spengler.
Dirk Werner was a promising fifth-fastest for Schnitzer, ahead of Abt ace Timo Scheider. Phoenix Audi racer Miguel Molina edged out Mercedes' Jamie Green for seventh by 0.001s.
Martin Tomczyk took ninth in his RMG-run BMW, with Christian Vietoris and Filipe Albuquerque close behind (0.003 and 0.004s behind respectively, to be precise) for Mercedes and Audi.
Roberto Merhi put his Persson Mercedes 12th, ahead of Mike Rockenfeller's Phoenix Audi and David Coulthard of Mucke Mercedes.
Augusto Farfus was four tenths off the pace in his RBM BMW in 15th place, ahead of the Audis of rookie Adrien Tambay and Spielberg winner Edoardo Mortara.
Susie Wolff was 18th ahead of fellow Mercedes driver Robert Wickens, while Andy Priaulx was 20th. Rahel Frey and Joey Hand rounded out the runners, both just 0.67 off Ekstrom.