Ralf Schumacher starts from third place in Spielberg
• Sixth placed Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) missed out on top 4 qualifying by just 0.25 thousandths of a second
• Qualifying in Spielberg took place in tricky weather conditions and was suspended for a time because of heavy rain
Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) will start the third round of the 2011 DTM season on Sunday in Spielberg (start: 13:00 BST, from 12:45 live on ARD TV) as the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in P3. Schumacher posted a time of 1:40.587 in the single lap session at the end of a rain-soaked qualifying session.
With a lap of 1:38.685, Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) secured the sixth-best time in the second part of qualifying and missed out on top 4 qualifying by just 25 thousandths of a second.
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-class - 1:38.787) and Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-class - 1:38.827) both made the top ten, and will start from eighth and ninth respectively.
DTM rookie Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-class - 1:38.866) secured tenth on the grid. Championship leader Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-class - 1:39.372) will start the third race of the season in twelfth place on the grid.
Qualifying 1: It started to rain just before qualifying got underway. Gary Paffett set the fastest time of the first segment - 1:39.581 - from Maro Engel and Jamie Green. Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished in 15th place with a time of 1:40.928.
Qualifying 2: The second qualifying session was suspended after two minutes owing to heavy rain and the high risk of aquaplaning. After the restart, Ralf Schumacher went on to post the session’s third best time on a still wet track - 1:38.605 – and was the best-placed Mercedes driver. Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class / 1:39.530) and David Coulthard (German Post AMG Mercedes C-Class / 1:39.797) finished 13th and 14th.
Quotes about qualifying:
Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) third (1:40.587):
“Today’s qualifying was extremely exciting with very tricky conditions – in weather like this you can gain a lot of advantage, but you can lose a lot too. I’m happy with third place on the grid. With a good start, a really good result should be possible.”
Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) sixth (1:38.685):
“I’m happy with sixth place. We had planned for wet qualifying and our tactics worked out well – it was a great job from my team. I missed out on the top 4 by a fraction, but I am still very pleased.”
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Cass) eighth (1:38.787):
“In these conditions it’s not so easy to put together a good lap. It makes no difference to me if the weather in the race is wet or dry – the car’s working well either way. Qualifying could have gone better, but the car was a bit too oversteery in the rain.”
Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) ninth (1:38.827):
“At first glance, ninth place is not what we wanted, but I'm reasonably pleased because I only missed the top 4 by only two tenths. In the DTM it's always very tight, especially on this track and in these conditions. Looking to the race, everything’s still to play for.”
Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) tenth (1:38.866):
“Qualifying was a mixed bag, but it was tight. I missed out on the top 4 by only four tenths. As regards tactics, the team did everything right in sending me out late. Qualifying wasn’t easy because it’s tough to do the perfect lap in these conditions.”
Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) 12th (1:39.372):
“It won’t be easy from 12th position on the grid but all the cars are pretty tightly bunched. In these conditions, qualifying was a lottery - unfortunately I wasn’t among the winners. I’ll go all out in the race and do my best to secure maximum points.”
Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) 13th (1:39.530):
“I’m not happy with P14. We had expected a dry session so I didn’t pit for fresh tyres, but I’m hoping the race will be dry, and then we should see some changes.”
David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) 14th (1:39.797):
“I had a lot of oversteer, so we must look into the reasons why. Although we made some changes, it didn’t improve. I hope the race will be dry. Then I'll give it my best shot to move up the field.”
Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) 15th (1:40.928):
“That was a difficult qualifying session. The rain meant I only had one shot at a half-decent lap, because the track conditions were only good during a short window. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. What’s more, my wiper stopped working, so I had limited visibility. Now I’m just concentrating on giving it my all tomorrow.”
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“That was a really exciting qualifying session in very difficult and changeable conditions. Congratulations to Martin Tomczyk and Audi on securing pole – they did a good job.
Ralf Schumacher was one of the pacesetters today
Ralf Schumacher was one of the pacesetters today and tomorrow, starting third, he’s in a race-winning position. Although two parts of qualifying didn’t go so well for us, we still have five C-Class cars on the first five rows of the grid. Tenth-placed Christian Vietoris was just over two tenths down on the fifth-placed driver, which shows how tight the compettion is in DTM. After securing two poles in a row, our championship leader Bruno Spengler will start tomorrow’s race from the sixth row and has a lot to do, but can still score valuable points.”