Audis Ahead In New-Look DTM’s First Practice Session

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Filipe Albuquerque - Photo Credit: ITR

Albuquerque claimed the honour of topping the first session of the new-look DTM - Photo Credit: ITR

The new era of the DTM got underway with the first free practice session at Hockenheim on Friday, with six of Audi's eight new A5 models locking out the top six places in ominous fashion.

It was Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque who got his second DTM season off to the best start, the Team Rosberg driver ending up a narrow 0.016 seconds ahead of Mike Rockenfeller, who has replaced Martin Tomczyk at Phoenix Racing after the reigning champion's switch to BMW.

Albuquerque's Rosberg teammate Edoardo Mortara was third fastest at the start of his second DTM campaign, two-thirds of a tenth away. Timo Scheider was the best of the 'crack' Abt Sportsline drivers in fourth place. Phoenix's Miguel Molina took fifth, just ahead of Scheider's teammate Mattias Ekstrom.

Gary Paffett was the best of the Mercedes in seventh, only just ahead of DTM debutant and reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robert Wickens.

Fellow single-seater convert Adrien Tambay was ninth, the only rookie in Audi's lineup this season. David Coulthard was tenth in his Mercedes as he embarks on a third DTM season. Christian Vietoris was 11th as he makes his first competitive outing with Mercedes' top team HWA.

Andy Priaulx was the fastest of the BMWs in 12th, just under nine tenths off the ultimate pace and only half a second away from the top Mercedes. His more experienced teammates Bruno Spengler and Martin Tomczyk were just behind him.

Joey Hand was 15th in his BMW, ahead of reigning Formula 3 Euro Series champion Roberto Merhi, who in turn was 0.004s in front of fellow Mercedes driver Jamie Green. Dirk Werner, Susie Wolff, Ralf Schumacher, Augusto Farfus and Rahel Frey completed the times.

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