Paul Di Resta will start on the front row
Paul Di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class) will start Sunday's 11th and final round of the 2008 DTM at Hockenheim second on the grid on the front row. With a time of 1m32.284; he was four hundredths of a second behind the pole position time of Mattias Ekstrom (Audi); however, Paul was more than two tenths faster than his title rival Timo Scheider (Audi) who qualified third.
All four 2008 C-Class cars were among the top six: Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) ended up fourth with a 1m32.615 ahead of Bernd Schneider (Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class/1m32.680) who will start his final DTM race, his 227th for Mercedes-Benz, fifth on the grid. Bernd missed the second row by 65 thousandths, Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) was sixth fastest with a 1m32.769.
Qualifying, part 1: The first qualifying was red-flagged after about seven of 15 minutes following an accident of Markus Winkelhock (Audi); at this time, only six of 19 drivers had completed a timed lap. According to the rules, all drivers moved up to the second part which was extended by almost eight minutes which remained from Q1.
Qualifying, part 2: Di Resta was fastest with a 1m32.882; 79 thousandths of a second ahead of title rival Scheider. Gary Paffett (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) was 12th with a 1m33.742; Maro Engel (JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class/1m33.936), Mathias Lauda (Pixum AMG Mercedes C-Class/1m34.459), Ralf Schumacher (Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class/1m34.499) and Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class/1m34.665) ended up 14th to 17th respectively.
Paul Di Resta (2008 AMG Mercedes C-Class), second (1m32.284): "I am really close to the pole and missed it only by a small margin. However, I am ahead of Timo -- our team did a great job and I thank everybody for their efforts. It will be a long and tough race, but first of all I will concentrate on the first corner and on staying ahead of Timo. I don't feel any pressure -- tomorrow everything is possible."
Jamie Green (2008 Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), fourth (1m32.615): "The second row is ok and a good basis for the race. Qualifying went well, but I didn't manage to pull three perfect sectors together."
Bernd Schneider (2008 Genuine Parts AMG Mercedes C-Class), fifth (1m32.680): "A good qualifying; my C-Class was perfect. With my final set of tyres I pushed a little too hard at the Sachs corner. A better grid position was possible; however, Paul was just too fast today."
Bruno Spengler (2008 Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class), sixth (1m32.769): "The car was great, but I struggled at the first sector to find a good rhythm. At least, I'm on the third row."
Gary Paffett (2007 stern AMG Mercedes C-Class), 12th (1m33.742): "I made a few minor mistakes and therefore I was not able to qualify further up the grid."
Maro Engel (2007 JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class), 14th (1m33.936): "14th position is not too bad -- maybe I can score my first DTM points tomorrow."
Mathias Lauda (2007 Pixum AMG Mercedes C-Class), 15th (1m34.459): "I am quite satisfied because we improved by about one second after this morning's free practice."
Ralf Schumacher (2007 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class), 16th (1m34.499): "Unfortunately, I damaged my front splitter during the first part of qualifying before the red flag came out. Afterwards I was not able to do better. I look forward to a hopefully exciting race and keep my fingers crossed for Paul."
Susie Stoddart (2007 TV-Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class), 17th (1m34.665): "I am disappointed, because my car was not as good as I had expected. We will now analyse the data and try to improve for tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "An exciting qualifying with a downright solid team performance by ourselves. Paul will start second on the grid; his lap lasted four hundredths of a second longer than the polesetter's one; in the first and last sectors Paul was fastest and less than seven hundredths slower in the middle sector. All our four 2008 C-Class cars will start from the first three rows tomorrow. I thank the HWA team led by Gerhard Ungar and Hans-Jurgen Mattheis for their efforts and the first step into the right direction. I hope for a fair and tough race tomorrow, in which both title contenders will fight against each other for the championship.
"Tomorrow, the DTM will be sold out for the first time in Hockenheim and thus will have a new record crowd. I thank the organizers of the ITR and the Hockenheimring for this great job which made this excellent event possible."