Nuremberg. At the Norisring, Robert Wickens claimed the maiden pole position of his DTM career. In the final heat on Saturday, the Mercedes-Benz driver needed 48.384 seconds for the 2.3 kilometres long lap and was overjoyed after his fantastic performance. “I knew that I had done a good lap, but I wasn’t sure whether it was enough to be on top. I just had butterflies in my stomach until Gary told me that I was first. However, it will be a hard race tomorrow,” the Canadian said.
Wickens’s compatriot Bruno Spengler (BMW) ended up second in qualifying. Thus, two Canadians will be lining up on the front row of the grid for the first time in DTM history. “It was a difficult qualifying, but I am happy with the result. Tomorrow, I will be starting on the inside from second place, that could turn out to be a slight advantage,” the three times Norisring winner said.
Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz), who scored his first season victory at Lausitzring four weeks ago, will be starting from third place on Sunday and could make up ground on points’ leader Mike Rockenfeller (Audi), who didn’t do better than 19th. Instead, the best-placed Audi driver was Edoardo Mortara in fourth place. “Mercedes-Benz was very strong, but we had a good qualifying as well. I had a good feeling for my car and I reckon that we will be even stronger in the race tomorrow,” the Italian said.
Rockenfeller, who is leading the points’ standings equal on points with Bruno Spengler, already was out after the first qualifying heat. “Our set-up simply wasn’t right, my team-mate Molina even ended up last. It is frustrating, but we won’t give up. Last year, I still finished sixth here after a rather poor performance in qualifying,” the Audi driver said.
Classified fifth, DTM novice Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-Benz) missed out on making it into the final qualifying heat by only 17 thousandths of a second. Andy Priaulx will be starting next to him from sixth place on the third row with his BMW M3 DTM. Mercedes-Benz driver Daniel Juncadella, last year’s Formula 3 champion, also showed a strong qualifying performance with seventh place. Eight-placed Filipe Albuquerque was the second-best Audi driver from his fellow Audi driver Mattias Ekström.
Jamie Green (Audi), who is considered as ’king of the Norisring’ with four victories, didn’t do better than a disappointing 14th place in qualifying. Thus, another success at the street circuit in Nuremberg seems far off for the 31-year old.
An overview of the tyre choice of every driver for the start of the race can be found at www.dtm.com this evening. The fifth season round will cover 83 laps and 190.900 kilometres and will start on Sunday at 13.30hrs (CEST). ARD will already be broadcasting live from 13.15hrs.