The Eifel region not only was helping to celebrate “40 Years of M,” but one man in the field helped to make things even more special, as BMW Bank driver Bruno Spengler secured his second pole position for the 2012 season, when qualifying concluded at the Nurburgring this afternoon. The 29-year-old Franco-Canadian was ecstatic at securing his 13th DTM Pole Position with a time of 1:24.284, but said that it was rather difficult this time around: “It was very hard today, because all drivers were quick. Therefore, I am all the more happy with pole position. I have to admit: an awesome feeling.”
Audi, however, thanks to Edoardo Mortara, Felipe Alberquerque and Mike Rockenfeller, secured the next three spots, showing that the hard work from Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich‘s team had paid off during the summer break, followed by the BMWs of Martin Tomczyk and Augusto Farfus. The biggest shock was that Gary Paffett suffered a major setback, qualifying only 11th, with his team-mate, Jamie Green, was the fastest of the Mercedes drivers, ending up in 7th place, who admitted that things were not going to plan: “Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed in getting the best out of the car. We have to accept that and improve as quickly as possible.”
BMW’s Dirk Werner qualified ahead of Canada’s Robert Wickens, who secured his first top ten position in qualifying for Mercedes-Benz this season, who felt that things had gotten off to a great start for the second half of the season, but things could have been even better for the rookie: “On my last lap unfortunately, I was a bit unlucky, otherwise I might have been able to achieve better results. But of course, I’m happy to be in the Top Ten for the first time in my DTM career in my debut race at the Nürburgring.”
Two-time DTM champion, Audi’s Timo Scheider, qualified 10th, and admitted that there were still further developments to be made on the A5 DTM, but it was a welcome sign of things to come for the driver, who was moderately happy this time around: “On the fifth row, it’s easier to strategically tackle the race than in the past when we were even all the way at the rear on occasion. I’m looking forward to the race; it’ll no doubt be a heat battle. Considering all the people that were eliminated in Q2, today shows that it was definitely not so easy to get everything right on the dot.”
Alongside Paffett, Mattias Ekstrom was another driver not happy with how events proceeded in qualifying, ending up behind the current series leader on the grid for tomorrow’s race. His final lap in Q2 had to be aborted, due to yellow flags being waved, meaning the Swede would not progress, and he was somewhat unhappy in how it all went: “The result was not as desired. In the beginning, I had a problem on the brake. We were too slow, and in the end, we were out of luck.”
Miguel Molina secured 13th place, whereas Adrien Tambay lost out, and suffered problems with an altenator problem, finishing 16th, with Swiss rookie Rahal Frey securing her best qualifying result so far behind Tambay, but narrowly missed out getting into Q2 by just 0.018 seconds, which was a welcome improvement for the F3 race winner.
Local driver Christian Vietoris ended up behind Frey, with Andy Priaulx, Roberto Merhi, Suzie Wolff and David Coulthard being the other drivers eliminated in Q1, with Ralf Schumacher ending up in 15th place behind BMW Team RMG’s American ace, Joey Hand. With the heat wave scouring over Europe all round, providing track temperatures of 44.4 degrees celsius at the “Green Hell”, this provided an exciting start to the second half of the DTM season, with Dr. Ullrich being satisfied with the overall improvements that Audi have shown, but recognized just who was the better driver on the day, but was optimistic about what could happen on race day: “It probably would have been possible to take the pole position too, but unfortunately there was a small mistake made everywhere while Bruno Spengler drove a perfect lap. The result shows that the work during the past few weeks has paid off and that our work went in the right direction. I’m hoping for us to be able to convert this into a good race result tomorrow.”
It remains to be seen, as to whether Mercedes-Benz may be able to turn their fortunes around for tomorrow’s race, as the action and the weather could really spice things up tomorrow, but BMW could very well be in the hunt for another historic victory, as the “40 Years of M” celebrations are set to continue.