BMW Motorsport’s reigning champion, Canada’s Bruno Spengler, was able to secure his first pole position of the season ahead of fellow stable mate Marco Wittman by a mere 0.111 seconds, whereas Mercedes-Benz again continued their struggles with qualifying once more. Three of the 22 drivers would suffer a five-place grid drop, as a result of not slowing significantly under a yellow flag situation, which has been under a lot of discussion by the majority of the drivers as of late.
Audi Sport’s Edoardo Mortara looked much better this time around, as the Italian driver looks to secure a great result at the Red Bull Ring, having done the double last season, being the first race win of Audi’s 2012 season. The Team Rosberg driver was on the right track, and finished as the highest Audi driver P3 after the Q4 one lap shoot out. Brazil’s Augusto Farfus secured his place in Q4 again, as the Curitiba driver managed to become the only driver to have been successful in getting into the final qualifying session in all three races so far.
All three Brits had a disastrous time out in the 4.326km Austrian track, with both Jamie Green and Andy Priaulx being penalised, alongside Brands Hatch race winner Mike Rockenfeller. Gary Paffett did not even make it out of his visit into the pit lane during Q3, as the current Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver said that there was an noise from the engine and the car lost drive, but is optimistic of being able to fight back up the field as he did on home soil: “We now have to analyse the reason for this, and in tomorrow’s race, we’ll have to stage another charge from the back – just like at Brands Hatch – and try to pick up as many points as possible. Despite all this, the pace of my EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was good – certainly better than at Brands Hatch – which gives me cause for optimism.”
Even though Robert Wickens, who helped make history at Brands Hatch, making it two Canadians on the podium for the first time in DTM, placed 7th overall after Q3, being the highest Mercedes starting position for the race, Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff is clearly not impressed with the lack of form that Stuttgart currently has, when it comes to fighting for race grid positions: “Our congratulations to BMW, they are very strong at the moment and have got their nose in front. We were dissatisfied with the race weekend at Brands Hatch and today’s qualifying session here in Spielberg has also been disappointing, but we are all fighters and racers through and through in our team and we intend to strike back in tomorrow’s race. I am confident that Gerhard Ungar and his crew will pull it off and that together we can overcome this temporary setback. Gary had a bit of bad luck today, unfortunately, but he still has every chance of achieving a decent result on this track where there are plenty of overtaking opportunities. It’s going to be an exciting race.”
Jens Marquardt showed real delight in just how dominant Munich were during the latter part of qualifying, with BMW on the verge of almost securing a clean sweep of M3 DTMs for Q4, with Mortara being the lone gun for Ingolstadt: “What a crazy qualifying for BMW! Champion Bruno Spengler on pole, rookie Marco Wittmann right behind him in second, and Augusto Farfus in fourth – we are all extremely happy. Before today, we had never had three drivers in the top four since our return to the series. BMW Team Schnitzer worked magnificently throughout qualifying. Our new recruits BMW Team MTEK did a fantastic job, which I am particularly pleased about. I have to pay a huge compliment to the entire team, as that was a very impressive display. The bad weather held off today, but anything could happen tomorrow.”
2-time DTM champion Timo Scheider was hopeful of a good showing in his home country, as he showed just how good he can be around the Styrian track, but just missed out on getting into Q4 by just 0.029 seconds, ahead of a re invigorated Filipe Albuquerque, who rounded out the top 6, showing a 50/50 split between both BMW and Audi.
So, as every one is watching the weather, where it could be in with the mix for all 22 drivers, but we’ll leave the last words to Spengler, who looks to get back ahead of current points leader Rockenfeller, as he starts 13th after his penalty: “One can never have enough pole positions. It was a great day with a great car. But this was only 50 percent of the work. The rest has to follow tomorrow “