Zandvoort. A premier for Marco Wittmann: in his debut season in the DTM, the 23-year old BMW driver claimed pole position for the first time in his career. In the final qualifying heat, he set the fastest lap time at Circuit Park Zandvoort in 1:30.894 minutes. “That is unbelievable, I really didn’t expect this. My maiden pole is something very special and with the front row, we have achieved a fabulous team result,” an overjoyed Wittmann said.
Fellow BMW driver Augusto Farfus, who, next to points’ leader Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) is the only driver still in with a chance to win the 2013 DTM champion’s title, ended up in second place with a lap time of 1:30.979 minutes. Rockenfeller was around three tenths of a second slower than Farfus and will be starting third into the ninth DTM round of the year. Gary Paffett was the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in twelfth.
29-year old Rockenfeller, the leader in the drivers’ standings of the most popular international touring car series with 124 points and a margin of 33 points from Farfus (91 points), said: “Of course, I hoped to finish ahead of Augusto. However, I was a little bit nervous because things weren’t going too well. Of course, I will try to win the race, but it will be very difficult.” Moreover, ’Rocky’ declared: “In any case, my goal has to be a good start, make it through and finish on the podium.”
His rival, 30-year old Brazilian Farfus, was happy with second place. “For BMW, this was a great qualifying. I am happy for Marco. Although Mike was incredibly strong, Marco claimed pole. In the race, I will do my utmost and battle for the title,” Farfus said.
In order to keep his chances of winning the title alive and to postpone the decision to the season finale at Hockenheim (October 18 till 20), the BMW driver has to score at least eight points more than Rockenfeller at Zandvoort. For the Audi driver, however, victory or second place would be enough to secure the title early.
Gary Paffett wasn’t happy having been sidelined after the second qualifying heat already. “Before qualifying, we made some changes on the car and actually, I was very optimistic. We have to analyse why it was so bad. The gap to the front runners wasn\'t particularly big, but this shows, how close it is in the DTM,” the Brit said.
An overview of the tyre choice of every driver for the start of the race on Sunday will be available at www.dtm.com on Saturday evening. The ninth DTM season round will cover 44 laps and 189.508 kilometres and starts on Sunday at 13.30 hrs. ARD is broadcasting live from 13.15 hrs.