Bruno Spengler in pole position at season opener - Ralf Schumacher third
Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) will start the first race of the 2011 DTM season in Hockenheim on Sunday from pole position. (Start: 13:00 BST, broadcast live on ARD TV commencing at 12:45 BST). Bruno set a time of 1:34.270 on the final lap of single-lap qualifying. This is his eighth DTM pole and his second at Hockenheim since the start of the 2007 season. For the 106th time in DTM, a Mercedes-Benz driver is on pole position.
In the first single-lap qualifying of the season Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), set a time of 1:34.577, which placed him third, and he will start from the second row of the grid. Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) qualified seventh for the season opener in 1:34.386. DTM rookie Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) will start ninth with a time of 1:34.445 in his first DTM qualifying session. His time during the second part of qualifying was just two tenths slower than eighth-placed Maro Engel.
Qualifying, part 1: the first part of qualifying was suspended after seven minutes following a spin by Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class). The winner of the 2010 DTM season opener was unable to continue with qualifying and will start from 18th position on the grid. All the remaining drivers progressed automatically to the second qualifying segment.
Pole position is brilliant.
Qualifying, part 2: Ralf Schumacher was best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in P4 in a time of 1:34.220 minutes. The two newcomers to DTM, Christian Vietoris and Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class, 1:34.475 minutes), finished their first DTM qualifying in P9 and P11 respectively. David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) came home in 13th place in a time of 1:34.698 minutes. Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) was 14th in 1:34.720 minutes, and Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished in 16th position with a time of 1:34.778 minutes.
Quotes about qualifying:
Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) pole position (1:34.270): "Pole position is brilliant. After practice, I wouldn't have thought it possible because I did so little running this morning. Pole is a great reward for the crew's fabulous work. Let's hope it continues for the race.
Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) third (1:34.577): “So far, this weekend has gone very well for me. I almost managed to get on the front row, but didn't quite pull it off. The guys in the team have worked well. It was a long, hard winter but it appears to have paid off."
Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) seventh (1:34.386): "The team did a great job, simply brilliant. Perhaps there was another tenth of a second to be had, but I'm very happy with P7. I can't wait for the race."
Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) ninth (1:34.445): "Ninth position is a good way to start in DTM, but it's a pity that I just missed going through to the third part of qualifying. I was only two tenths adrift. I'm very pleased with my first DTM qualifying."
Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) eleventh (1:34.475): "On the whole, I'm very happy with my first DTM qualifying, although I think I could have done a bit better. Unfortunately, I made a mistake otherwise I could have made the top eight perhaps."
David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) came home in 13th place in a time of 1:34.698 minutes. "All in all, I’m very satisfied. During qualifying, we improved the car's balance, and I posted a reasonable time. It wasn't possible to do much more today."
Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) 14th (1:34.720): "This isn't the grid position that I expected. Last year in qualifying, I was nowhere, but despite that I was in the top eight in the race. I’ve got the same goal for tomorrow."
Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) 16th (1:34.778): "I was unlucky in qualifying. My hot lap was interrupted by another car in the final sector. I hope now I can have a good race from 16th place on the grid. Last year, in the second round at Hockenheim, I moved up from 17th to 7th."
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Cass) 18th (no lap time set): "What happened in the first part of qualifying was a big disappointment for me. Unfortunately I selected the wrong gear and went off into the gravel trap. My THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class was running very well and I was going for pole. It's a shame that I must now start from last position. I'll do everything I can to fight my way up to the front.”
Nico Rosberg (MERCEDES GP PETRONAS) guest driver at Hockenheim. "I feel very much at home - altogether, I've spent three years here with DTM and ADAC Junior Formula 3. Of course, I'm really pleased with the performance of my Mercedes DTM team-mates. A brilliant performance from Bruno with this pole position, and I'm particularly pleased for Ralf. He was wrongly criticized but Mercedes, Norbert and Ralf's HWA-Team stuck by him and he stood by them. That's our spirit, and that's how we do it in Formula One too.”
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "What an incredible pole for Bruno. This morning, owing to the damage to his floor, he didn't get a proper lap in; then this afternoon, he put the car on pole. For his part, Ralf produced a response where it matters most: on the track, with a strong lap. Our young drivers also performed well: Maro Engel will start seventh, with Christian Vietoris and Renger van der Zande ninth and eleventh."