Impressive début for the new Audi A4 DTM: Timo Scheider (Germany) and Mattias Ekström (Sweden) set the best lap times by a wide margin in Saturday’s qualifying for the DTM opening race at Hockenheim. This puts two of the new Audi A4 DTM cars on the front row of the grid for the race that is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
As early as in the free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday morning the Audi drivers had set the pace. In the first segment of the three-part qualifying all four new Audi A4 DTM cars were running in front and easily made it into the last section as well. Audi was the only one of the two manufacturers to see all four new cars finish among the top eight.
The pole position was clinched by Timo Scheider in the GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM, who will thus be starting to a DTM race from the top grid position for the third time in his career. Alongside the German, title defender Mattias Ekström in the Red Bull Audi A4 DTM is on the front row. Scheider and Ekström were the only two drivers to set times below 1m 33s. Bruno Spengler in the quickest Mercedes on position three was almost four tenths of a second slower – an unusually large gap in the DTM.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "So far we’ve got every reason to be satisfied because we showed a very strong team performance. Obviously, the new Audi A4 DTM functions very well. I’m hoping that we’ll be a credit to the fantastic road-going model with our racing car. Clinching pole the first time out – that’s definitely a superb accomplishment. What’s more, we’ve shown a solid team performance. I’m particularly happy for Timo (Scheider), who has been very strong all weekend and managed to translate this strength into the pole position. But all the others showed a really good performance as well. And you cannot overemphasize that Oliver Jarvis – in his first DTM qualifying of his career – finished among the top eight. He can rightfully be proud of this."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "Sensational! We were strong from the very first practice session onwards. Straight from my first lap I had a very good feeling. We changed almost none of the settings on the car after the first practice session. That’s unusual for a race weekend. Normally, we do a lot more mechanical work. Very minor changes resulted in perfect balance. That’s why we’re on pole. I want to thank Audi and the Abt squad for a great car."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I feel really comfortable in the new A4 DTM. I’m convinced we are well prepared. We did a good long run during the test, managed a strong qualifying performance, and I’m on the front row. Our chances for the race on Sunday are good."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "Audi did a superb job during the winter months. The car is good and quick. Personally, I still need a few more kilometers in the car. Honestly: today the car was better than I. In the last sector I spun a bit several times. That cost me third place. Nevertheless, my starting base is okay. As early as on Friday I had the impression that the car, during the long run, felt better than any other Audi before it."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "It was really okay – except for the last trial. Between the second and third section we changed the camber. We were running out of time, so I had only one trial on new tires. I set my time on this set of tires on the third lap – without the slightest chance to achieve a top time. That’s too bad because a better result would probably have been possible."
The starting grid at Hockenheim
1 Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM) 1m 32.655s 2 Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM) 1m 32.804s 3 Bruno Spengler (Mercedes) 1m33.034s 4 Paul di Resta (Mercedes) 1m 33.075s 5 Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM) 1m 33.169s 6 Jamie Green (Mercedes) 1m 33.418s 7 Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM) 1m 33.575s 8 Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM) 1m 33.716s 9 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) 1m 33.731s 10 Gary Paffett (Mercedes) 1m 33.891s 11 Alexandre Prémat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM) 1m 33.893s 12 Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM) 1m 33.991s 13 Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM) 1m 34.096s 14 Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM) 1m 35.299s 15 Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes) 1m 34.425s 16 Maro Engel (Mercedes) 1m 34.458s 17 Susie Stoddart (Mercedes) 1m 34.574s 18 Mathias Lauda (Mercedes) 1m 34.725s 19 Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM) 1m 35.784s
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