POLE FOR SPENGLER, SETBACK FOR PAFFETT…
Nürburg. For BMW and Bruno Spengler, the start of the second half of the season couldn’t have been better. In qualifying for the sixth DTM season round, the Canadian showed himself in an excellent shape at the Nürburgring and claimed pole position for Sunday’s race. Third-placed in the drivers’ standings, Spengler completed his 3.629 kilometres long lap of the tradition-steeped circuit in 1:24.284 minutes. “It was very hard today, because all drivers were quick. Therefore, I am all the more happy with pole position. I have to admit: an awesome feeling,” an overjoyed Spengler said after qualifying. For the 29-year old, it was the 13th pole in the DTM and the second of this season. Points’ leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) had a setback: he only qualified eleventh.
Audi driver Edoardo Mortara was no less than 0.221 seconds slower. The Italian will be starting from second place, lining up alongside Spengler on the front row of the grid. “Unfortunately, I have made mistakes in qualifying today and I reckon that we had the potential to be all the way up front. But with two Audis in the top three, chances for the race are very good,” the 25-year old said. Mortara’s fellow Audi drivers Filipe Albuquerque from Portugal and German Mike Rockenfeller ended up third and fourth respectively.
Reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk and Brazilian Augusto Farfus (both BMW) were classified fifth and sixth in qualifying. British driver Jamie Green, Paffett’s fiercest rivel in second place in the drivers’ standings, ended up seventh in qualifying as the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver of the day. “Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed in getting the best out of the car. We have to accept that and improve as quickly as possible,” Green said.
Dirk Werner ended up eighth with his BMW M3 DTM. Canadian Robert Wickens achieved his best DTM qualifying result to date with ninth place in his DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, followed by two times’ DTM champion Timo Scheider (Audi).
Briton Gary Paffett failed to build on the dominant performance he has been showing this season so far. “The car felt well, I didn’t make any big mistakes. Therefore, I am very surprised how slow we are. Now, we have to find out really quickly before the race what the reason is,” Paffett said. Swede Mattias Ekström wasn’t happy either. He will be starting from twelfth place alongside Paffett with his Audi A5 DTM. Ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes-Benz) will be starting from 15th position into Sunday’s race.
For local driver Christian Vietoris from nearby Gerolstein and David Coulthard, qualifying was a brief affair. Both Mercedes-Benz drivers were already out of the battle for the best starting grid positions after the first of four heats. Vietoris was classified 18th, Coulthard ended up 22nd