Strong qualifying performance at the Nürburgring.
Ingolstadt/Nürburg – Audi has regained its typical strength in the DTM qualifying session at the Nürburgring. In difficult conditions, five Audi RS 5 DTM cars made it into the top six.
Following an unusually difficult time which the Audi drivers most recently experienced in the battle for the best grid positions at the Red Bull Ring, they impressively came back on the Eifel track. With five RS 5 DTM cars on the first three rows of the grid the brand with the four rings has good chances of clinching its first victory of the season in the DTM on Sunday and to recapture the lead of the manufacturers standings.
Edoardo Mortara in position two
For the first time this season, Edoardo Mortara in the Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline will be starting from the front row. Mortara, who is in fourth place of the standings, trailing BMW driver Bruno Spengler by only one point in the overall classification, managed to continually improve in the course of the three-part qualifying session and, on taking grid position two, achieved his best qualifying result of the year.
I can hardly believe it: we had six tough qualifying sessions and suddenly were running well, said the Italian, who missed the pole position by 145 thousandths of a second. We changed something on the set-up and used the full potential today. It was a great qualifying session and Im very optimistic for the race.
All three Audi teams on the first two rows of the grid
Title defender Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix and Jamie Green in the Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg will be sharing the second row of the grid. This means that all three Audi teams will each be starting from the first two rows with one car.
The third row, with Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) and Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), is completely in Audis hands as well. Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM) and Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) completed Audis strong qualifying performance with positions ten and eleven.
Only Mattias Ekström in the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM experienced disappointment in qualifying. In Q1, the Swede made an early switch from rain tires to slicks, but was ultimately the first driver to see the checkered flag and on a track that was getting faster and faster dropped to 22nd place, the penultimate position on the grid.
When youve got five cars in the top six you can actually be nothing but pleased, said Dieter Gass, Head of Audi Sport. It again showed how good the RS 5 DTM is. That Marco Wittmann is at the very front and Mattias Ekström at the very rear of the grid is obviously less than perfect with a view towards the Championship. But our five guys are really going to put pressure on Marco tomorrow and give their all to clinch the first, long-overdue season victory for Audi. And Mattias should never be written off either.
Following the changeable weather conditions on Saturday, dry weather has been forecast for the day of the race. The seventh race of the DTM season will start at 13.30, local time. ARD will air live coverage from the Nürburgring on Das Erste starting at 13.15.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): Following the qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring that proved difficult for us, we regained our typical strength. In the race, weve traditionally been stronger than in qualifying, thats why Im pretty confident that one of our five guys can ultimately make it onto the top step of the podium tomorrow. But, obviously, to do so, theyll have to get past Marco Wittmann first.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): The starting base is definitely good. With five Audi cars in the top six were well set, even though it wasnt quite enough for clinching the pole position. But looking at Marco Wittmanns performance, you can only take your hat off. For us it was important to again show a solid team performance at the front and to put ourselves in a position of being in contention for race victory tomorrow.
Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 2
I can hardly believe it. We had six tough qualifying sessions and suddenly were running well. We changed something on the set-up and used the full potential today. It was a great qualifying session and Im very optimistic for the race.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 3
Im very pleased with qualifying. I was out in the middle of nowhere in free practice this morning and hadnt expected our car to be running so well. Our Audi was nice to drive. With a little more fortune we might have even been able to battle for pole in the end. A tenth more was no doubt possible, but the lap was definitely very good and I was on a roll. It was a qualifying session of the kind Id been used to for some time. Today was a relief.
Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 4
Im happy. Fourth place is a good starting base. Im hoping to clinch a top result tomorrow. The whole Audi team seems to be in good shape.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 5
We saw a thrilling qualifying session. In the wet conditions at the beginning you had to do everything right. In the end, on the dry track, we were actually good but, unfortunately, I wasnt happy with my last set of tires, lacking grip on the rear axle. Thats why I wasnt able to improve any more on my last shot.
Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 6
The conditions kept changing today. This kind of qualifying is a great challenge because you continually have to react to the conditions. Sixth place is a good starting base. The chances of finishing on podium arent bad.
Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), grid position 10
These were obviously very difficult conditions. From that perspective, position ten isnt too bad. But I did have higher expectations in the second session. The first tire set functioned superbly and I was far at the front in the first part of the session. Now we need to find out why nothing was possible anymore on the second tire set. But, basically, the chances in the race are okay for me.
Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 11
I made a mistake in the second session. We had the speed for Q3 but I didnt put it on track. Grid position eleven isnt good but its not a bad starting base for the race either. Making a mistake in Q1 in these difficult conditions would have been worse.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 22
It was a poor qualifying session, thats clear. Its going to be a long way from grid position 22 tomorrow.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): Congratulations to Edoardo (Mortara). He showed a great qualifying performance. It would almost have been enough for the pole position. In contrast, things were obviously not going well for Mattias (Ekström). He didnt manage a top lap in Q1. Now weve got to make a joint effort of bringing Edoardo to the very front and having Mattias still achieve a good result. Adrien (Tambay) and Miguel (Molina) are in the middle of the field were definitely going to see a thrilling race tomorrow.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): It was a turbulent day with changeable weather and starting the first part of qualifying in the wet. We did everything right. The drivers optimally put everything on track in dry conditions, despite not having had much practice on a dry track. Big compliments to them. Both are in the top five. We wouldnt have expected that after the first free practice session. From these positions, weve now got a lot of possibilities in the race and are going to give everything tomorrow to clinch the first Audi victory of the season.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): It was a gripping qualifying session. Nico (Müller) was only seven hundredths of a second short of making it into the third session. In Jamies (Green) case we gambled a bit with the tires. It didnt quite pan out the way wed been hoping it would. But, still, fourth place is superb.