Saturday, 04 June 2011 06:00
DTM qualifying report - A great return to Austria for the German touring car series, the first time since 2003, has seen the fans again trek to a DTM race at the Red Bull Ring that was re-opened in mid-May.
In front of the unique scenery in the Styrian mountains, German Audi driver ended up fastest and claimed pole position in a thrilling qualifying.
On a wet track and in difficult conditions, the 29 year old completed the 4.326 kilometre long undulating track in 1'40.001.
“Pole position was our goal after everything went very well so far this weekend. Everything has to fit together in order to achieve a good lap time. Apparently, that has worked out today. It is the best position to win a race”, said the delighted Audi driver, who will be starting a DTM race from first place for the eighth time in his career.
Tomczyk, who is currently third in the points’ standings, is racing a 2008 spec Audi A4 DTM this season.
Only 0.325 seconds separated Oliver Jarvis (Audi) from pole position. In second place, the Brit completes the front row of the grid.
Third place for Mercedes-Benz driver Ralf Schumacher was the reason for great joy among the fans as the 35 year old ex-Formula 1 driver starts from third place in the season opener at Hockenheim.
“I had already forgotten how beautiful it is here. It was difficult as the weather changed all the time. Especially at such a fast track, aquaplaning is dangerous. Being third provides good opportunities for tomorrow. But we also have to see what kind of weather is awaiting us. Tomorrow, many friends and my family will be here and I hope that it will be a good race”, said Schumacher.
Italian Edoardo Mortara (Audi) was also very happy after the DTM novice made it onto the second row of the Red Bull Ring grid starting in fourth place in his third qualifying following the tenth place on the grid at Hockenheim and seventh at Zandvoort.
Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller, winner at Zandvoort and runner up in the drivers’ standings, was fifth fastest in qualifying.
With his AMG Mercedes C-Class, Maro Engel was sixth, followed by Timo Scheider (Audi) and a trio of Mercedes-Benz drivers, Gary Paffett, Jamie Green and Christian Vietoris, completed the top ten.
After pole positions at Hockenheim and Zandvoort, a streak came to an end for points’ leader Bruno Spengler after the Mercedes-Benz driver ended up twelfth.
“Today, I was struggling for grip. Twelfth place is not great, but nevertheless, I will have fun in the race”, Spengler said after qualifying.
For the second time in a row, Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom failed to make it into the second qualifying heat, in heavy rain, the Swede slid into the tyre barriers at the pitlane entry and damaged his car in such a way that qualifying was over for him.
“There is a new surface on the track in the pit lane entry. There, I had aquaplaning and I was only a passenger in my own car”, said Ekstrom, who has to start the race from last place.
The third DTM season round will cover 38 laps and a total distance of 164.388 kilometres starting at 14h00 (local) with ARD broadcasting live from 13h45.
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