Third pole in row for Audi Audi driver Timo Scheider remains "the man to be beaten" in the DTM: at the third race of the season the German in his GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM will start from the pole position as well. At Mugello (Italy), Scheider managed a perfect lap at the crucial moment of qualifying, resulting in a gap of over three tenths of a second to the rest of the field.
Since the new Audi A4 DTM cars – following their victories at Hockenheim and Oschersleben – have to run with 20 kilograms more weight than the 2008-spec Mercedes contenders, the field at Mugello moved together closely, as expected. In the third and crucial qualifying segment the quickest four Audi and Mercedes vehicles came within 86 thousandths of a second of each other almost up to the end of the session – and, what’s more, on a race track that – at 5.245 kilometers – is the longest on the DTM schedule.
However, just as the checkered flag was being waved, Timo Scheider managed to improve by four tenths of a second yet again and, cheered by his mechanics, pushed from fifth place forwards to first. Despite the handicap weight, which at Mugello – according to computer simulations run by Audi Sport – costs almost five tenths of a second per lap, the Audi driver stayed below last year’s pole time by 0.772 seconds.
With Tom Kristensen on grid position three and Mattias Ekström on position four, three of the four new Audi A4 DTM cars fielded by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline will start to the race from the first two rows on the grid. Kristensen set the fastest time in the first qualifying segment, Ekström in the second. However, as track temperatures kept rising, neither of them managed to match his personal best time in the third session.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It was an extremely thrilling and close qualifying. Our rivals were very strong. I’m incredibly happy that Timo (Scheider), yet again, got things right at the crucial moment and delivered a truly fantastic time. The strong team performance with three cars on the first two rows proves that the A4 DTM is running superbly also here."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "I went all out in my fight. When I was fifth in the last qualifying, my goal was to at least make it onto the second row. On my last trial I somehow managed finding a line on which grip was really good. Even when I turned into the first corner, I was surprised. The lap was pretty good all the way to the end. Incredible that a pole position was possible again. I want to thank Audi and Abt – yet again, I was given the perfect package."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "I’m satisfied. Nothing had to be done to my car during qualifying. The engineer only optimized my tire pressure, which worked out well. I simply had to drive faster and faster, and that definitely worked in the first two sections. Unfortunately, I did not improve any more on the last set of tires. That cost me the front row on the grid. But position three is good too and, tomorrow, everything is open."
The starting grid at Mugello
1 Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM) 1m 43.079s 2 Jamie Green (Mercedes) 1m 43.401s 3 Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM) 1m 43.420s 4 Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM) 1m 43.472s 5 Paul di Resta (Mercedes) 1m 43.487s 6 Bruno Spengler (Mercedes) 1m 43.579s 7 Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) 1m 43.579s 8 Alexandre Prémat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM) 1m 43.927s 9 Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM) 1m 43.997s 10 Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM) 1m 44.025s 11 Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM) 1m 44.031s 12 Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM) 1m 44.154s 13 Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes) 1m 44.735s 14 Gary Paffett (Mercedes) 1m 44.914s 15 Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM) 1m 44.986s 16 Maro Engel (Mercedes) 1m 45.357s 17 Mathias Lauda (Mercedes) 1m 45.644s 18 Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM) 1m 46.086s 19 Susie Stoddart (Mercedes) 1m 46.258s
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