Front row at Spielberg is firmly in Audi’s hands
• Turbulent qualifying on DTM’s return to Austria
• First pole position for Martin Tomczyk since August 2009
• Four Audi A4 DTM cars on the top five grid positions
Audi is regarded as Austria’s most successful premium brand - and on the DTM’s return to the newly opened Red Bull Ring at Spielberg the front row is firmly in Audi’s hands.
No less than four Audi A4 DTM cars are starting into the race from the top five grid positions on Sunday (live broadcast starting at 1:45 p.m. - local time - on "das Erste").
The man of the day at Spielberg was Martin Tomczyk from Audi Sport Team Phoenix, who to the delight of his personal partner Red Bull clinched his first pole position since August 2009. This is only the second time in the history of the "new" DTM that the driver of a year-old car will start from the top position of the grid. Oliver Jarvis was the only driver to have managed this feat before - and at the Red Bull Ring he took position two for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.
With DTM newcomer Edoardo Mortara from Audi Sport Team Rosberg clinching fourth place, vehicles from all three Audi factory teams made it into the crucial fourth qualifying segment (Q4) for the first time. Zandvoort winner Mike Rockenfeller on position five and Timo Scheider on seven completed the strong overall team performance of the brand with the four rings.
The free practice in the morning had already suggested that the Audi A4 DTM feels very comfortable at the Red Bull Ring: As many as eight Audi drivers were at the front of the field. Martin Tomczyk at 1m 25.660s posted the so far fastest lap on the re-opened race track in the province of Styria.
In the afternoon the driver from Rosenheim, Bavaria, who lives in Switzerland, confirmed his strong form in completely different conditions. Right at the beginning of the qualifying session it started to rain. The rain at times was so heavy that race control felt it was necessary to stop Q2 prematurely. The track did not dry off in Q3 and Q4 either and in the end Martin Tomczyk secured the pole position with a lead of 0.352 seconds in front of Oliver Jarvis, Ralf Schumacher and Edoardo Mortara.
The latter had already left a strong impression throughout the weekend and shone with a best time in Q3. However, in the end the rain that was becoming heavier again prevented a sensational pole being clinched by the current champion of the Formula 3 Euro Series.
"The conditions were really extremely difficult," said Martin Tomczyk after clinching his eighth pole position in the DTM. "It wasn’t easy to make the right decisions. But together we achieved a good result. My thanks go to the team that did a sensational job."
Four Audi cars on the top five grid positions are an outstanding result
"Four Audi cars on the top five grid positions are an outstanding result," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "Martin (Tomczyk) again proved his potential. Oliver (Jarvis) is strong again after a difficult phase and Edo (Mortara) is an impressive newcomer. The great result that we achieved in the end is a certain compensation for the disappointment in the first few minutes when we lost both Red Bull cars, particularly since this happened on the occasion of the opening of the Red Bull Ring."
Like some of the other drivers, Miguel Molina and Mattias Ekström had tried to run a timed lap on slicks at the beginning of qualifying despite the fact that rain was setting in. Both became victims of aquaplaning at the flooded entrance to the pit lane and will start from the last row on Sunday. Filipe Albuquerque and Rahel Frey will go into the race from positions eleven and 16.