Paul di Resta claimed his third career DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) pole position at Eurospeedway Lausitz today. Remarkably, the first of those three career pole positions was also at Lausitz, in the 2008 season, and di Resta went on to take his first-ever DTM victory in that event, two years ago.
"After my second place (in practice) this morning I knew that a good result was possible," di Resta said. "In qualifying, I was able to improve and was under 1:19 every time. Mercedes-Benz has always been strong at this circuit and tomorrow I want to achieve our ninth win out of 11 races at the Lausitzring."
After a lowly 13th position in the first practice session, Green found the right setup for his Mercedes C-class, and in the morning practice was just under a tenth of a second behind Audi's Mike Rockenfeller.
In the qualifying, the young Scot tested all the top four positions on the timesheets, finishing third in the first segment, second in the next, and then fourth in the third segment. In the final segment, he found that the first place, atop the timing sheets, really suited him the best, as he clocked a lap of 1:18.772 out of the gate, and none of the other three drivers were able to match that.
Championship leader and qualifying virtuoso Bruno Spengler came the closest to matching his teammate's qualifying performance, missing the mark by just 0.035 seconds, running second-last in the final segment.
"At the first corner of my final qualifying lap I struggled a little bit under braking," he recalled. "However, I didn't make any more mistakes and I'm less than half a tenth behind pole. Tomorrow I will push from the very beginning - I'd like to extend my overall lead with a race win."
Spengler's nearest championship challenger, Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom, will be on the lookout for that, though, as the Swede will start just behind Spengler, having missed the pole position by a full two tenths.
"Obviously, it's best to start from position one on the grid," Ekstrom reflected. "But today we were only good enough for third place, and I've got to be satisfied with that. In the past we always had a hard time here in dry weather. We've still got a long way to go before scoring a good race result on Sunday."
Last year Ekstrom managed to score a pole position at Lausitz -- only Audi's second in 11 races at the track -- but in the race he had to settle for third, behind Gary Paffett and Spengler.
While Paffett missed out on Q3 and Q4 this year and will start ninth, it's not much worse than the seventh grid position from which he scored last year's victory with some deft driving and clever race strategy.
Behind Green, though, it'll be another Mercedes driver: Jamie Green took fourth in the first of the 2008-spec cars, five hundredths behind Ekstrom. That makes it three Mercedes in the front two rows of the grid, another strong performance for the Stuttgart manufacturer.
Mike Rockenfeller, 2008-2009 champion Timo Scheider and Alexandre Premat will occupy the next three grid positions for Audi, though, putting them solidly in the hunt for a podium position.
Eighth will be David Coulthard, as the former Formula One pilot continued to show improvement in his third DTM race. The Scot made it through to Q3 for the first time in his rookie DTM season, beating teammate Paffett to the final spot in the third segment.
"Amongst this strong field, it will be difficult to defend this place in the race or even to improve, particularly because it will be my first race here at the Lausitzring," Coulthard admitted, modestly. "But I will give it a try, of course. My Mucke team guys would deserve it -- they gave me a great car!"
The third race of the 2010 DTM season will start at 2 PM local time tomorrow.