Bruno Spengler took the first pole position of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season in qualifying at Hockenheim.
Mercedes teammate Gary Paffett will start from the back of the grid after spinning out in his first lap in Q1. This brought out the red flags, which meant that everybody was allowed through to Q2.
Of the drivers not to make it through to Q3 as part of the top eight, Christian Vietoris was the best placed rookie in ninth, just ahead of fellow newcomer Edoardo Mortara and Renger van der Zande. Oliver Jarvis was a disappointing 12th, with fellow Brit David Coulthard 13th. Jamie Green had a miserable first qualifying since his return to a latest-spec Mercedes, only managing 14th. Another of the newcomers Filipe Albuquerque was 15th, with female racers Susie Stoddart and Rahel Frey 16th and 17th ahead of Paffett.
In Q3 it was Spengler who was quickest, being joined in Q4 by Ralf Schumacher, Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom. The best of those who failed to make it through to the final session, Mike Rockenfeller was fifth on his debut in a latest-spec Audi. He was just ahead of the man he displaced in the crack Abt squad – Martin Tomczyk, who was the best of the older-spec runners. Maro Engel and Miguel Molina rounded out the top eight.
Ekstrom ran first in the single-lap Q4 session, posting a 1m34.402s. Audi teammate Timo Scheider made a mistake on his lap, leaving him over a second down. Schumacher was also unable to better Ekstrom's time, but Spengler was able to take pole position with his effort, a 1m34.270.
“Qualifying was great, my car was perfect,” said Spengler. “I am really happy. My motivation is massive as ever and of course, a race win would be the best possible way to start the season. But there are still many kilometres to go until the chequered flag on Sunday. Obviously, I will be giving everything.”
Ekstrom said: “It just wasn't enough. Bruno has achieved a very good lap and deserved pole. My hand that was broken a while ago didn't cause any problems today, but it could become painful during the race. I just have to put my head down and push the throttle.”
Qualifying session times:
|1.||Bruno Spengler||HWA Mercedes||1:34.270|
|2.||Mattias EkstrÃ¶m||Abt Sportsline Audi||1:34.402|
|3.||Ralf Schumacher||HWA Mercedes||1:34.577|
|4.||Timo Scheider||Abt Audi||1:35.434|
|5.||Mike Rockenfeller||Abt Sportsline Audi||1:34.194|
|6.||Martin Tomczyk||Phoenix Audi||1:34.285|
|7.||Maro Engel||Mucke Mercedes||1:34.386|
|8.||Miguel Molina||Abt Junior Audi||1:35.268|
|9.||Christian Vietoris||Persson Mercedes||1:34.445|
|10.||Edoardo Mortara||Rosberg Audi||1:34.460|
|11.||Renger van der Zande||Persson Mercedes||1:34.475|
|12.||Oliver Jarvis||Abt Audi||1:34.559|
|13.||David Coulthard||Mucke Mercedes||1:34.698|
|14.||Jamie Green||HWA Mercedes||1:34.720|
|15.||Filipe Albuquerque||Rosberg Audi||1:34.758|
|16.||Susie Stoddart||Persson Mercedes||1:34.778|
|17.||Rahel Frey||Phoenix Audi||1:35.403|
|18||Gary Paffett||HWA Mercedes||No time|