“Rocky” Returns To The Top at Zandvoort

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This afternoon saw Audi Sport‘s outgoing champion Mike Rockenfeller take pole position for the penultimate race of the year at Circuit Park Zandvoort with a lap time of 1:30.713, beating his successor Marco Wittmann, as the BMW Motorsport driver missed out on a repeat of last year by just 0.026 seconds. Edoardo Mortara was a further 0.018 seconds further back, as the Italian driver rounded out the top three during one of the closet qualifying sessions of the season.

Mattias Ekström was the next in line, as the Swedish double champion was unable to better the efforts of his teammates, and had to settle for fourth. This was ahead of the Team Rosberg pairing of Jamie Green and Nico Müller, which showed that Ingolstadt’s chances of challenging BMW for the manufacturer’s crown were still ongoing heading into tomorrow’s race.

Pascal Wehrlein was unable to repeat his performance at the Lausitzring, as the 19-year-old went top in Q2, but had to settle for seventh ahead of Team Schnitzer‘s Martin Tomczyk, who was the last driver to get into Q3.  Joey Hand again made it into the top ten, placing ninth ahead of Miguel Molina, who completed the top ten.

Q2 saw a lot of times tumble, as everyone was battling their way across the Dutch seaside circuit under overcast skies, with Gary Paffett being the next highest-placed Mercedes-Benz in 11th. However, the Brit seemed to be impeded by Ekström in the latter stages of Q2 itself, which is currently under investigation by the stewards. Adrien Tambay took twelfth ahead of Mercedes’ Paul Di Resta, with the Scot showing impressive pace in the early stages of qualifying.

Timo Glock took P14 ahead of Bruno Spengler, as Timo Scheider‘s misfortune struck again at a track where he has been incredibly successful at in terms of 1-lap pace, but the Audi driver had to settle for 16th. Maxime Martin also struggled with his M4 DTM, finishing ahead of the last driver to be eliminated from Q2, Christian Vietoris, who struggled in the updated C-Class AMG Coupé due to power steering issues.

The hopes for BMW were somewhat dealt a further blow, as António Félix da Costa and Augusto Farfus struggled to get out of Q3, with the last three spots on the grid being taken by the Mercedes trio of Robert Wickens, Daniel Juncadella and Vitaly Petrov.

The technical and twisting sections, along with full-throttle turns, will provide a welcome spectacle tomorrow afternoon, as one title has already been decided, but will another be clinched by the Dutch coast?

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