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Matthias Ekström with Audi A4 DTM on pole at Zandvoort
Reigning DTM champion Mattias Ekström (S) got himself into the best possible start position for the sixth DTM round of the year on Sunday (live on ARD from 12.45 h) by claiming pole position at Zandvoort. The 29-year old Audi driver lapped the 4.307 kilometers long track in the dunes at the North Sea in 1.31.012 minutes, the fastest lap time. For the Swede, it was his tenth pole in the DTM and the 40th for Audi.

“I am very happy, that was a great qualifying for me”, said Ekström. Second fastest in qualifying was points’ leader Timo Scheider, 0.219 seconds down. The Audi trio in front was completed by Dane Tom Kristensen. In seven races held in The Netherlands since 2001, only one driver was able to convert pole position into a race win, and that was Mattias Ekström during his championship title year, 2004.

Jamie Green qualifyed on 4th place
Jamie Green qualified on 4th place

Best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver on Saturday evening was Brit Jamie Green in fourth place, the driver who already won in Mugello and at the Norisring this year. In the battle for the DTM title, the 26-year old is only one point behind Scheider and is thus the German’s fiercest rival. His fellow Mercedes-Benz driver, Bruno Spengler from Canada, ended fifth in the hunt for grid positions and is standing alongside the Audi A4 DTM of Martin Tomczyk (D), who will be starting sixth into the race over 38 laps and a distance of 163.666 kilometers. Behind Brit Paul di Resta (Mercedes), Audi’s Oliver Jarvis (GB) was the best-placed driver with a year-old car in eighth place. The top ten was completed by Germans Markus Winkelhock and Mike Rockenfeller (both Audi).

Mercedes-Benz driver Ralf Schumacher wasn’t able to continue his good qualifying results from the past race meetings in The Netherlands. He failed to make it into the second shoot-out heat and will have to start last into the race. DTM record champion Bernd Scheider set the 12th fastest time with his AMG Mercedes C-Class and will be starting ahead of his fellow Mercedes-Benz driver, Gary Paffett (GB).

Before the race on Sunday, DTM points’ leader is Scheider with 32 points from Green (31) and di Resta (27). Because of the live Tour de France broadcast, the race will start one hour earlier than usual on Sunday, namely at 13.00 h.

Mattias Ekström (1st grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “I am very happy, that was a great qualifying for me. Everything was spot on. I knew that on the final lap, it was all or nothing. Right when I crossed the finish line, I told my team on the radio: ‘When that wasn’t enough for pole, I don’t know what to do, because the lap was really perfect.’ Now, it will be essential to use this position in the race.”

Timo Scheider (2nd grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt): “Our team has done a tremendous job. My car was very good. I did a good, but not a perfect lap. Mattias did so. Congratulations to him. I was on pole already, but didn’t win here. Maybe it is the other way round tomorrow. We knew that Zandvoort suits our Audi A4 DTM.”

Tom Kristensen (3rd grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt): “Three Audis on the first three places, that is always nice. It was an exciting qualifying, and tomorrow’s race will be like that, too. The spectators can look forward to it.“

Jamie Green (4th grid position, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes): “From the second row, you still have chances in the race. My car is good, I will attack. Fourth place is not that bad, anything is possible from there.“

Audi motorsport director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “Of course, having three drivers up in front is great. Since 2004, we have been regular pole-sitters here. Mattias did a perfect lap with three fastest sector times. However, the opposition is very strong, and therefore, we have to achieve in the race what we have shown today.”

Mercedes-Benz-Motorsportchef Norbert Haug: “This is how close things are in the DTM. Audi is strong, but we aren’t weak. We have paid here for our three victories with more weight. In the race, anything can happen, even though we aren’t starting up front. Maybe it is a good sign that Lewis Hamilton also started fourth in the Formula 1 race at Silverstone last week and then went on to win.”

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