The first race to pole position for the 2014 DTM season was won by Audi Sport’s Adrien Tambay, who took his maiden pole position in the series ahead of BMW Motorsport’s Marco Wittmann and top rookie Antonio Felix da Costa after an exciting three rapid-fire sessions this afternoon.
It was another session for Mercedes-Benz Motorsport to forget as the first five that were eliminated in at the famed track, where Formula One also races. Paul di Resta, Robert Wickens, Daniel Juncadella, Christian Vietoris and Vitaly Petrov were all left in the wake of the other 18 drivers, with the 2010 Campion admitting to Verena Wriedt that “there is still a lot of work to do.”
The other Stuttgart drivers that made it into Q2, 2005 Champion Gary Paffett and Pascal Wehrlein, only got as far as 15th and 16th respectively, leaving it to be a 50-50 split for the final eight to go into battle.
Mike Rockenfeller and new team mate Timo Scheider were also battling to keep themselves in contention, but the pole sitter from last year ended up in tenth, just ahead of the defending champion. Timo Glock, who won last year’s season finale was pushed out by a mere fraction, and starts ninth.
The final fight for pole position showed that Mattias Ekstrom was going all out, with the Swede going fastest, before Edoardo Mortara and Miguel Molina showed that their pace was consistently quick. Tambay topped the time sheets before Felix da Costa left it until the last few moments to make his charge.
The Portuguese driver, who is running the Red Bull M4 DTM this year, beat the Frenchman to the top spot with around 90 seconds left, but promptly had his time deleted due to track limits being exceeded. Bruno Spengler was making his customary run, ending up behind Wittmann, before the decision on da Costa’s first lap time was reversed, putting him into the top three.
Rounding out the top eight were Ekstrom, Molina, Mortara and Martin Tomczyk, with Mercedes needing to do a lot of work tomorrow come race time. The quality and depth of the drivers this year has changed the order in the DTM for now, but the race to wins and scoring points are what will decide who goes into Oscherlseben with the lead. We’ll find out tomorrow.