The business end of the second round of the DTM season got underway this afternoon at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, as the Madgeburge Börge region would hear the sounds of V8-powered race cars pushing the limit for the best flying lap.
Audi Sport continued to assert its dominance in qualifying this season, as Team Abt Sportsline‘s Miguel Molina initially took top honours this time after the three-tier elimination session over the 3.696km-long track, posting a new track record time of 1 minute 20.007. This was the first time the Spaniard had been on the top spot since the season finale at Hockenheim back in 2011.
However, due to a post-session technical inspection, Molina’s car was excluded once again due to an irregularity with the rear wing on his RS5 DTM, as reported by Motorsport-Total.com this evening. This would put him to the back of the grid for the second race in succession.
Points leader Marco Wittmann was almost half a second slower, as the winner of the opening round and all other BMW M4 DTMs that placed in the top ten have an extra 5 kilos “performance weight” for this round, but would be promoted to pole position as a result.
Hockenheim pole sitter Adrien Tambay who was third, will sit alongside Wittmann on the front row, with Team MTEK’s António Félix da Costa showing that even though he is a rookie, his pace is electric come qualifying, having been promoted to third alongside Timo Scheider. He was one of the Munich drivers that would only have a 2.5kg ballast, as both the Portuguese driver and Maxime Martin finished outside the top ten at Hockenheim. Defending champion Mike Rockenfeller will be fifth on the grid, alongside 2012 champion Bruno Spengler, with Edoardo Mortara, Augusto Farfus, Pascal Wehrlein and Jamie Green rounding out the newly-amended top ten.
It was another day for Mercedes-Benz to forget, as four of their drivers were eliminated after Q1, which were Paul Di Resta, Vitaly Petrov, Robert Wickens and Daniel Juncadella. Gary Paffett made it into Q2 by the narrowest of margins, along with Christian Vietoris, but both drivers were eliminated after Q2, even though all seven drivers’ C-Class AMGs are 5 kilos lighter. Wehrlein may have done his very best, but after the departure of HWA CEO Gerhard Unger last week, it will not be easy for Mercedes-Benz to get back on track, as their DTM programme is undergoing several changes to ensure success in the near future.
Timo Glock’s efforts did not come to any reactive fruition, as the ex-F1 driver suffered several off-track excursions in his M4 DTM, being eliminated after the first stage of qualifying and placing as the lowest BMW driver in 18th, as Martin Tomczyk, Martin and Joey Hand start in 12th,13th and 15th respectively. Two-time champion Mattias Ekström starts in 11th place, with Nico Müller placing the lower half in the pack down in 14th, as the young Swiss ace is still getting used to the transition to the DTM.
51 laps of the circuit will decide the race winner of round 2, but it will interesting to see how the strategies and the performance weights factor into the decisions made by the teams. The adrenaline is set to get going once again…