GREEN TAKES HIS SECOND POLE - CHAMPIONSHIP DECISION APPROACHES
The showdown in the battle for the 2005 DTM title is on. In front of crowded grandstands, the 20 DTM drivers contested the 2005 season's final fight for the grid positions, with Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green turning out to be the most successful man.
On the drying track, the Briton set the fastest lap time of the ten drivers that were the fastest in the qualifying session, thus qualifying for the single-lap shoot-out. By lapping the 4.574-kilometre Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg in 1:45.294 minutes the 23-year old defeated all his rivals and secured pole position.
"The lap wasn't perfect but good enough to gain pole," beamed Green who was delighted to have taken his second pole position of the season. Denmark's Tom Kristensen (Audi Sport Team Abt) was just 0.076 slower than the pole-sitter and will share the first row on the grid with Green, while Bernd Schneider, who won last year's race at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, qualified third, in his AMG-Mercedes C-Class.
In the close battle for the championship between Sweden's Audi driver Mattias Ekström and Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett, the Briton clearly improved his promising initial position regarding the championship.
While reigning DTM Champion Ekström failed to qualify for the Super Pole, for the first time in 2005, and had to settle for 15th grid position for the 37-lap race (169,238 kilometres) that will start tomorrow at 14:00hrs, Paffett, who holds a nine-point lead over Ekström, will be sixth on the grid for the season finale at the Hockenheimring.
For the third time this season, Heinz-Harald Frentzen was the best qualifier of the Opel drivers. In the Super Pole, the German took his Opel Vectra GTS V8 to fourth position on the grid, with Frank Stippler in his Audi A4 DTM qualifying fifth. Thanks to Marcel Fässler and Laurent Aiello taking eighth and tenth grid positions respectively, three Opels made it to the top ten.
Audi driver Martin Tomczyk (seventh) and Mika Häkkinen (ninth), the idol of the public, completed the top ten on the grid for the race on Sunday.
Jamie Green (Pole position, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes):
"The lap wasn't perfect but good enough to secure pole. During the course of the Super Pole, the track dried more and more, hence, I knew that the conditions were going to improve consistently. But I also benefited from Bernd Schneider's mistake that helped me to take pole position."
Tom Kristensen (2nd grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt):
"This was a rather difficult qualifying session. I was too aggressive in turn one, hence, I went wide. I will be great to be on the first row on the grid for tomorrow's race, in front of the great Hockenheim crowds."
Bernd Schneider (3rd grid position, Vodafone AMG-Mercedes):
"My qualifying set-up was very good. I knew that it would be more difficult, on the drying track. My lap was quite alright until I entered the Motodrom, but unfortunately I made a mistake in the penultimate corner. Now I want to win tomorrow's race."
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (4th grid position, Stern Team OPC):
"We opted for the safe solution and shod the car with wets, for the Super Pole. I would have loved to take the risk of going out on slicks as I'm highly motivated, but from a strategic point of view it was the right decision to opt for the wets. The good result was very important for me as I used to struggle with the DTM car, at Hockenheim. But this problem seems to be solved, now."
Director Norbert Haug Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director:
"Today, it was very difficult to find the suiting set-up. Jamie Green has delivered a great performance. To have seven cars on seven rows represents a fine result. Yet, the championship has not yet been decided. Quite obviously, the chance of winning a race from 15th grid position is small, but it isn't impossible. Still, I have to admit that Gary's initial position is clearly better. And, as I see it, deservedly better. He is, where he should be - and Mercedes-Benz also is where it should be."
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich Audi Motorsport Director:
"Martin Tomczyk was the first driver to contest his Super Pole lap, hence, he quite obviously had to cope with the worst conditions. You won't be surprised to hear that we aren't delighted with Mattias Ekström failing to make it to the Super Pole for the first time since two and a half years. Unfortunately, the change to a wet-condition set-up wasn't successful, on his car, and he had no grip at all. Tom Kristensen, however, delivered in fine style, in spite of his mistake in turn one, and just missed the pole by fractions."
"The weekend proves that DTM's way of motor racing is extremely attractive. On Friday already, there were many people on the grandstands. There are other series that would be happy to attract such crowds during throughout an entire race weekend."
Volker Strycek, Opel Motorsport Director:
"We took the risk to let Laurent Aiello contest his Super Pole lap on slicks, but we had to realise that it didn't work. Still, we gained insights for the entire team. In these conditions, it was difficult to make the right decision. Three of our cars made it to the top ten. This hasn't been the case for quite a while, therefore, I have to say that we are in a good position."