DTM: Audi dominates Friday practice Mattias Ekstrom led an Audi lockout of the top five places in the first DTM free practice session of the weekend at Brands Hatch. Ekstrom, who is Audi’s highest-placed driver in the championship heading into this weekend, edged reigning champion Timo Scheider by just 0.061 seconds.
The two Abt Sportsline drivers moved to the top of the timesheets during a flurry of activity in the middle of the session, with most of the headline times coming from Audis.
The manufacturer will be keen to reverse its recent poor form in relation to Mercedes this weekend, which might explain the bigger push from A4 drivers in comparison to their C-class rivals. Ekstrom also completed the most laps of anyone in the 90-minute session.
The 2008-spec Audis of Miguel Molina, Alexandre Premat and Markus Winkelhock completed the top five. Molina and Premat were the only drivers to make a significant improvement in the final few moments of the session, as most of the field refrained from pushing any harder at the end.
Gary Paffett was the top Mercedes runner in sixth. The HWA Mercedes team had a solid day, with Paul di Resta (seventh) and championship leader Bruno Spengler (ninth) close to Paffett’s time.
Spengler was sandwiched by two more Audis, as Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller also made the top 10.
As expected, it was a difficult start to the weekend for those in 2008-spec Mercedes. Susie Stoddart was the fastest of the older Mercedes in 11th, while the other four drivers in the same cars filled places 14-17.
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