Ingolstadt/Nuremberg - Edoardo Mortara missed the pole position in qualifying at the Norisring by an extremely narrow margin of just 106 thousandths of a second. As the best Audi driver, the Italian from Audi Sport Team Rosberg in his Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM will start the DTMs only city street race on Sunday (broadcast live on Das Erste) from the second row.
Within the Audi squad, Edoardo Mortara did the best job of this. The four-time winner of the Macau Grand Prix, who is particularly fond of city street circuits, battled his way forward into the decisive fourth qualifying segment and secured grid position four. It was a good qualifying session for us, said the Italian.
Achieving a better result would have been difficult today. In Q3 and Q4, I had the feeling of having squeezed the maximum out of the car. Were not completely in front yet so weve still got some work to do. But the gap isnt large and thats good. Weve got some difficult weekends behind us on which we were competitive but didnt get everything together competely. Now things are going better thats a nice result for Team Rosberg too.
Team Rosberg provided the second-fastest Audi driver Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM) as well. The Portuguese finished the qualifying session in eighth place. With Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) taking ninth place, a driver from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline finished in the top ten too.
In eleventh place, Adrien Tambay, who in his Audi ultra RS 5 DTM had been the fastest driver in the mornings free practice, barely missed the leap into Q3. His two team-mates Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) and Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM) are sharing the seventh row of the grid. In the morning, both had lost valuable practice time in the pits.
The most prominent victim of the extremely close field at the Norisring was Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM). In 19th place, the leader of the standings was eliminated right in the first section and is now facing a particularly difficult task on Sunday. His team-mate in Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Miguel Molina, even had to settle for grid position 22.
Even for DTM and Norisring conditions, the gaps were extremely narrow today, said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. Edoardo (Mortara) made sure that even after five races were still the only manufacturer to have had at least one car among the top four in qualifying.
Following the strong performance in free practice this morning, wed obviously been hoping for a bit more than position four on the grid. But lately weve been seeing that our RS5 has always been very strong in the race. Thats why anythings still possible tomorrow even for Mike (Rockenfeller). Making the best use of the option tires as well as of DRS will be playing a very important role tomorrow.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): The gaps were extremely narrow today even for Norisring conditions. If like Mike Rockenfeller youre in 19th place with a gap of only three tenths of a second and thus are eliminated in Q1, this says everything about how close the field currently is in the DTM.
But we also know that the grid positions this year arent quite as crucial anymore as they were in the past. Thats why anythings still possible tomorrow. Furthermore, with Edo (Mortara) on the second row weve got a driver who has proven his qualities on city street circuits on numerous occasions.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): As a team, were in a better position than last year when we only had two cars in the top ten and the second car only on grid position ten. Still, following the good result in free practice this morning, wed been hoping for a bit more, especially at the top.
On the other hand, were the only manufacturer to have managed putting a car into the top four at all five races in the first half of the season. With DRS and good option tire management, quite a bit is possible here. Itll definitely be a tough race and Im proceeding from the assumption that itll be a hard-fought one for a very long time.
Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 4): It was a good qualifying session for me. Achieving a better result would have been difficult today. In Q3 and Q4, I had the feeling of having squeezed the maximum out of the car. Were not completely in front yet so weve still got some work to do.
But the gap isnt large and thats good. Weve got some difficult weekends behind us on which we were competitive but didnt get everything together completely. Now things are going better thats a nice result for Team Rosberg too.
Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM, grid position 8): It was a difficult qualifying session. I had a bit of fortune, in Q1 I was 16th, in Q2 I was running in tenth place and in the end took eighth place. The potential is there. Lets see how the race will go.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 9): In Q3, unfortunately I didnt drive the perfect lap. And if you dont manage that, youre not in front in the DTM. Grid position nine is an improvement over the last races but were still not where we want to be. The race is very long. As always, Im going to try and give my best.
Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM, grid position 11): Of course, its a bit of a shame that I didnt make it into Q3. On my last lap, I came very close to setting a time of one of the best five drivers but I made a small mistake and the Norisring doesnt forgive even the slightest mistake. But here, anythings possible in the race.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 13): We felt the 45 minutes we lost in the morning due to a minor problem in terms of fine-tuning. Despite this limitation we developed pretty good balance. The first and the last sector were good. Unfortunately, we lost a few tenths in the last turn.
Jamie Green (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 14): I dont know yet what to expect in the race. The pace in qualifying was good, as eighth place in the first qualifying segment showed. But I had problems finding a perfect lap. Theres something happening in each sector of this track. And if the set-up is less than hundred percent perfect you lack a tenth and slip toward the bottom on the time sheets.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 19): Unfortunately, I cant say much today. In the first races of the season, we always got everything right in the team. Today, we werent where we wanted to be with the set-up. I tried everything, more wasnt possible. But we wont give up and will try and move forward in the race.
Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM, grid position 22): This wasnt so good. I had a problem with the transmission and am starting all the way from the rear. But with a good strategy, we can drive a good race.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): We cant be totally satisfied. Wed been expecting a top-ten result for all cars. Were hoping to have an advantage with our set-up across the long distance in the heat. Our best car is in ninth place so nothings lost. But the competition is strong. Doing a good job of getting through the first turn will be important.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): After the results of the roll-out and free practice we were confident to have found a good set-up. This wasnt confirmed in qualifying. Im hoping for the set-up to work out in the race. Starting from the rear will be difficult. Bur were hoping to be able to advance with a good strategy and to be scoring points.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): Of course Im very pleased. Weve got the two best Audi cars in the field. Edo (Mortara) is in fourth place. Its great that he made it into Q4. I can also live well with Filipe (Albuquerque) in eighth place. The guys deserve this after the misfortune of the past weeks.