Paffett claims first DTM pole of the year
Gary Paffett claimed the first pole position of the 2010 DTM season at Hockenheim. In qualifying for the season opener, the Mercedes-Benz driver lapped the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg in 1:33.214 minutes.
“The car was good from the very beginning and I continuously improved, I could close up to the front runners. After the first qualifying heat, I was quite happy and after the third heat, I had a really good feeling. We will try to score as many points as possible, but of course, we want to win the race”, said the 29-year old about his first place on the starting grid.
For the Briton, it is already his seventh pole in the DTM and for his employer Mercedes-Benz, it is 50th DTM pole position since the revival of the series in the year 2000. Paffett’s opponent Martin Tomczyk with the Audi A4 DTM crossed the finish line 0.076 seconds down. “Our preparation was good and it looks like that is paying off now. From the first lap onwards, everything went quite well. I hope that that continues tomorrow. From our point of view, the goal for the race is clear: more Audis to the front”, said the German. Canadian Bruno Spengler and British driver Jamie Green (both Mercedes-Benz) will be starting from the second row of the grid. Green ended up as the best-placed driver of a 2008-spec car in qualifying.
Reigning DTM champion Timo Scheider, who intends to win his third consecutive DTM title this year, caused a big surprise. The Audi driver failed to make it any further than the second heat of the shoot-out qualifying and will be starting from ninth place on Sunday. “This morning, we were already having problems with the front axle. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to completely solve them before qualifying”, said a disappointed Scheider.
The new drivers in the DTM were happier. Spaniard Miguel Molina (Audi) and Chinese CongFu Cheng (Mercedes-Benz) were happy with their respective 13th and 14th grid positions at their DTM debut. Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard from Scotland ended up 17th in his maiden DTM qualifying session with his 2008-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class, just one place behind Ralf Schumacher.
The opening round of the 2010 DTM season will cover 39 laps and a total distance of 178.386 kilometers. The race starts at 14.00 h, the ARD will be broadcasting live from 13.45 h.