Six Audi RS 5 DTM cars on the first five rows of the grid.
Ingolstadt/Oschersleben - With a strong qualifying performance Audi has worked out a good starting base for round eight of the DTM at Oschersleben (Sunday, starting at 13:15 live on Das Erste). Leader of the standings Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix, on position four, will be starting the race clearly in front of his two fiercest rivals in the battle for the title.
When at the end of Q1 the black and white checkered flag was shown the leader of the standings was only in 18th place and would thus have been eliminated early. But Rocky only needed a single lap to improve to second place. The leader of the standings confirmed his strong form with positions three, one and four in the subsequent segments of qualifying. Setting a time of 1m 20.129s in Q3, he achieved a new track record that was not equaled in Q4 not even by the leader of the standings himself, who secured position four on the grid.
Right in front of Rockenfeller, Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) will be starting the race from the front row. The Briton from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline only had to admit defeat to title defender Bruno Spengler in the BMW. Im very pleased with position two on the grid, said Green.
It wasnt easy today, especially with the rain in Q1 and Q2. My engineer Alex (Stehlig) did a good job because we were always out on track at the right time and that was crucial. My Q4 lap wasnt perfect; in turn 10, I was running a bit far on the outside. That cost nearly a tenth of a second.
Position six on the grid was secured by Filipe Albuquerque in the Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg. Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM), Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) and Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM) took positions eight, ten and eleven but will all move up by one position as Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett received a five-position grid penalty following a violation of the regulations. Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) and Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) are starting the eighth DTM race of the year from positions 13 and 17.
With six Audi cars in the top ten we can be very pleased, commented Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. The RS 5 DTM was fast right from the beginning today and managed to set a new track record in qualifying. Mike (Rockenfeller) showed strong nerves throughout the qualifying session and has created a good starting base for tomorrow while his two fiercest rivals are relatively far at the rear. Im happy for Jamie (Green) as well. Hell be starting from the front row as an Audi driver for the first time.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Im happy to see Jamie (Green) on the front row for the four rings for the first time and Rocky as the leader of the standings to start at the far front. His record lap in Q3 underscores, yet again, that the RS 5 DTM is strong on all tracks. It shows how good a job our technical staff did over the winter because a year ago we had a pretty difficult time here at Oschersleben."
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): "We can basically be very pleased with qualifying. Weve got six Audi cars in the top ten on the grid thats the solid team performance we were planning to deliver here. At least weve put this into reality in qualifying; Im hoping that in the race well be able to continue on a similar basis. For Mike (Rockenfeller), grid position four is no doubt a good starting base even though, when setting the fastest time in Q3, youve always got to look at the pole position.
But with a view to the Championship and the strategic options, we can be very pleased with grid position four. Jamie (Green) continued his performance at the Lausitzring and improved by one position in qualifying. Im sure that in the race hell be in contention at the front of the field."
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 2): "Im very happy about being on the front row. The conditions were very difficult; some of the laps were really slippery. We were running on slicks the whole time and were even competitive in Q4 on a completely dry track. The car was good and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline did a great job. That gives me a chance for victory in the race."
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 4): "A good qualifying session all in all. With the drizzling rain that kept setting in it really wasnt easy to drive and making the right decisions wasnt easy for the team either. We perfectly mastered all the hurdles up until the fourth qualifying segment, but then, unfortunately, I didnt get it together completely. Thats a shame because the front row was certainly possible today. Still, we can look toward the race with optimism."
Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM, grid position 6): "Im pleased. My car was very good today. Qualifying was difficult for all the drivers. I made it into Q3 and was only lacking a tenth of a second to make it into Q4. Lets see how the race will go tomorrow."
Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 7): "Im happy. After things werent going well in free practice this morning and we were one second behind the pace, we improved in qualifying and battled to make it into Q4. Grid position eight gives me a good starting base for the race tomorrow."
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 9): "It was a difficult qualifying session with the different conditions. But on the whole I was pleased with the car, except for sector two where we had a lot of motion on the front axle. That upsets me a bit. From tenth place good points are possible tomorrow."
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM, grid position 10): "The result could be better considering the pace we had today in dry conditions. We were a bit unfortunate with the rain and missed the right time. Hopefully well be able to correct that tomorrow."
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 13): "The result is a bit disappointing. I was too conservative on the first lap in Q2 to take advantage of the track. Then it started to rain. I had no other opportunity and was eliminated in Q2. But thats my own fault."
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 17): "It was raining in the beginning, the conditions were difficult and I was cautious on the first laps. When the track began to dry I had a good lap time. In the end, the track dried more than wed calculated and we were out. Its a bit like its been in the whole season: We make a decision about something and itll go wrong. But the car actually felt very good today."
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): A big well done to Jamie (Green). He and the team did everything right. In these weather conditions, that wasnt eady. We can be very pleased with grid position two and have got a great starting base for the race.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "In the DTM this year, every qualifying session is thrilling and here at Oschersleben the weather god even added some more spice. As a result, weve aged by a few more years within an hour and a half yet again. But in the final analysis, we did all the right things. Im very pleased with grid positions eight and four by Miguel (Molina) and Mike (Rockenfeller). Miguel, versus the free practice session, clearly improved and Rocky was among the front runners in all qualifying segments."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): It was a pity for Edo (Mortara). We were surprised that the times today kept getting faster as the day went on. He dropped out of Q1 with five hundredths of a second. That was our mistake. Filipes (Albuquerque) sixth place is a solid result. We can build on that in the race tomorrow.