Audi locks out first five starting grid positions – title candidates are showing nerves

Zandvoort. Audi surprises the opposition: in qualifying for the seventh DTM round of the year at Zandvoort in The Netherlands, the brand from Ingolstadt presented itself in excellent shape. No less than five Audi A5 DTMs lock out the first five places on the starting grid. The 2008 and 2009 DTM champion, Timo Scheider, was fastest in qualifying. For the German, it is the first pole position of the season and the tenth of his career. The three title candidates showed nerves: points’ leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) will start from eighth place, his main rival Bruno Spengler (BMW) in 18th and third-placed Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) from sixth position.

For Audi, it is the best DTM result of the year. Behind pole-sitter Scheider, his four fellow Audi drivers Mike Rockenfeller, Filipe Albuquerque, Edoardo Mortara and Mattias Ekström will be starting the race from second to fifth place. “I really had misty eyes in the car. In the team, we have been working very hard for months and we are now rewarded with pole. I have always kept faith in myself and I am particularly happy having claimed the fourth pole in total at my absolutely favourite track,” said Scheider.

Best-placed BMW driver of the day was Dirk Werner, who ended up seventh behind the fastest Mercedes-Benz driver, Jamie Green. Paffett, who is leading the drivers’ standings with 103 points and will be starting from eighth place, said after qualifying: “Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into the fourth qualifying heat, but given the circumstances, I am happy. The track seems to suit Audi very much, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use the full potential on a complete lap. Normally, our C-Coupé is very strong in the race and considering the weather forecast for Sunday, everything should be possible in the race.” Paffett’s fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Christian Vietoris and Audi driver Adrien Tambay from France rounded out the top ten.

Paffett’s fiercest rival Bruno Spengler gambled and lost. The Canadian, who is second in the drivers’ standings, 20 points down, drove one fast lap early in the first heat before returning to the pits, convinced that he would continue. “I thought, my time would be fast enough. However, conditions changed quickly and other drivers who were still on the track were able to improve. But worse things can happen. Now, I will try to make up positions from the back in the race and to score as many points as possible in the end,” said the 29-year old, who will be starting from 18th place following his retirement after the first qualifying heat.

The seventh round of the season covers 44 laps and 189.508 kilometres and will start on Sunday at 14.00 h (CET). ARD will be broadcasting live from 13.40 h