After a 26-year absence, qualifying for the third round of the 2014 DTM championship got underway in the early evening at the iconic Hungaroring. AMG-Mercedes’ Johnny Cecotto may have secured pole position and then back-to-back wins back in 1988, but a new generation of DTM warriors would battle it out for their grid positions for tomorrow’s race.
After three intense sessions around the 4.381km track, it was BMW Motorsport’s Marco Wittman that took pole position in the Hungarian countryside, ahead of stablemate Timo Glock, with top Audi Sport driver Miguel Molina rounding out the top three, being separated by just over two tenths of a second.
Q1 saw Mercedes-Benz again continue to struggle along at the back, as five of their cars filled the drop zone after thirteen minutes, with Christian Vietoris, Vitaly Petrov, Gary Paffett, Daniel Juncadella and Paul di Resta being eliminated. Paffett did his very best as the flag fell on the first session, but a sideways moment on his last flying lap cost the Brit a mountain of time that he could not recoup. Their struggles continue on, with no real answer as of yet.
BMW power led the way from start to finish, with Wittmann topping the times ahead of DTM newcomer Maxime Martin after the first session. The pair were some of several drivers that were posting times In the 1 minute 36 second bracket from the early goings, with Audi Sport’s ranks also getting in on the fight on track, such as Molina and Edoardo Mortara. Robert Wickens and Pascal Wehrlein were the remaining Mercedes-Benz drivers into Q2, but again there was no real answer to how BMW and Audi are performing.
The pair ended up 17th and 16th respectively, as António Félix da Costa wound the volume up to 11 in his hunt for his third successive Q3 assault. The young Portuguese driver were one of four BMW drivers at the top of the times along with pace setter Wittmann, Glock and Martin, as Swiss Audi rookie Nico Müller joined Molina and Adrien Tambay for the final session. Augusto Farfus also showed consistent pace to make it into Q3, as the sun began to lower over the track. Last year’s title runner-up was the first to set a fast lap, before Molina, Martin and Wittmann and Da Costa were pushing to the limit.
Glock and Tambay did not emerge from their respective garages until just after the halfway point, as some of the drivers appeared to be playing mind games. This was before Witmann took his chance with just over two minutes left to go. Last year’s “Best Rookie” was mistake-free, as he was four tenths quicker than Martin, but the onslaught was happening just after he posted a 1:36.518.
Glock and Molina were in the mix, but just did not have the answer to take the top spot., with Martin just ahead of da Costa. Farfus ended up ahead of both Tambay and Müller. 2012 champion Bruno Spengler was ousted in 9th after Q2, followed by Audi’s Jamie Green, Mattias Ekström, Mortara and defending champion Mike Rockenfeller. Joey Hand struggled as one of the lowest placed BMWs in 14th place, with Martin Tomcyzk placing 18th behind the top Mercedes of Wehrlein and Wickens. Two-time champion, Timo Scheider also found himself being eliminated after Q2, ending up 15th.