The DTM has hit the half way point in the season, but qualifying at the longer variation of the Moscow Raceway saw BMW Motorsport rookie Maxime Martin take his first DTM career pole position. The Belgian stormed ahead of 2012 Champion Bruno Spengler by just 0.019 seconds in the dying moments, as the sun started to set over the Russian skyline.
Audi’s fastest driver that afternoon was Nico Müller, who clearly showed that the rookies are out there to make the best of it along the veterans. The Swiss rookie topped the times after both morning Free Practice sessions and claimed third place on the grid ahead of the defending champion, Mike Rockenfeller.
Adrien Tambay continued his run of impressive pace, making it three Audis in the top five, ahead of BMW’s Augusto Farfus, as last year’s runner up will be in front of current points leader Marco Wittman, who starts from seventh tomorrow afternoon.
Miguel Molina, Jamie Green and Timo Glock rounded out a Mercedes-devoid top ten, as the Stuttgart efforts from Norisring did nothing to help the team move forward as was hoped. Canada’s Robert Wickens, who won in mixed conditions two weeks ago was the highest placed driver in 14th.
Spain’s Daniel Juncadella, who recently tested for Force India at Silverstone, ended up behind Wickens, but his team, Mücke Motorsport, was hit with a 2000 Euro fine for an unsafe release from his pit box. Paul Di Resta found himself at the tail end of the grid, placing 18th, whereas Pascal Wehrlein, Gary Paffett, Christian Vietoris and Russia’s sole racer, Vitaly Petrov, took up the last four places on the grid.
The remainder of Audi’s ranks saw Mattias Ekström, fresh from his FIA World RX win at Höljes last weekend with the ERSRX-prepared Audi S1, place 11th ahead of Edoardo Mortara. Timo Scheider‘s luck ran out, as the two-time champion ended up down in 18th.
Antonio Felix da Costa, Joey Hand and Martin Tomczyk qualified 13th, 16th and 19th for tomorrow’s race, rounding out the varied results for BMW this afternoon, with the latter n0w starting in 22nd following his collision with Paffett two weeks ago at Norisring. Times are for show, but the hard work begins when the lights go out.