Points leader Gary Paffett held nothing back as the Briton nailed down the Pole in his HWA Mercedes for Sunday’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) race on British soil. His hot lap in his AMG C-Coupe of 41.266 in the final shoot-out on the 1.929 km Brands Hatch Indy circuit gave Paffett his ninth series career pole and allowed the local fans to have a reason to celebrate.
“Pole position is important in every race, but pole is doubly important at this track, because overtaking is so difficult. My THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Coupé ran really well and the team did a great job – qualifying was just fantastic,” smiled the pole winner.
Christian Vietoris handed Team HWA Mercedes the front row with his best lap of 41.410, and at the time the German held the provisional pole. Vietoris ended short of his teammate’s final flying lap by just 0.144 seconds.
Said Vietoris, “Qualifying went just as I had imagined. I feel really at ease at this track and I’m well placed for the race in second position. Overtaking is very difficult around this circuit and the weather is still a bit of an unknown quantity – let's just see what tomorrow brings but I have to say, I’m very pleased with today.”
Canadian Bruno Spengler also came close to the pole winning time, but has to settle for the second row with the third fastest time of 41.462 in his Team Schnitzer BMW M3. At the recent Lausitzring DTM race, Spengler took the pole and the first victory for BMW in their return to the series.
“I can live with third place. It was very close here again. My lap in the fourth qualifying session was okay. My tyres already had one more lap under their belt, which made it a bit difficult. Qualifying was tough, but great fun. I think third place is a nice present for Charly and Dieter Lamm, whose birthday it is today,” said Spengler.
The winner of the last race smiled, and said, “I am looking forward to the race now. I had Gary Paffett breathing down my neck the whole time at the Lausitzring. Hopefully I can annoy him a bit tomorrow and put him under pressure.”
The best of the Audi drivers during the qualifying rounds was Mike Rockenfeller as he took the fastest time in qualifying three with a 41.020! In fact it was the hot lap of the weekend and came very close to the track record of 41.003 set in 2010. However the tables turned on “Rocky” in the final four qualifying segment and the German driver will start fourth on the second row with his best time in the shoot-out of 41.484 in his Phoenix Racing A5.
"In the end I was only lacking a couple of thousandths - that was a shame of course. But I think that together with the team I made the most of qualifying. We weren’t happy with the car in both free practice sessions and made a lot of changes. The changes went in the right direction. In Q3 I was able to squeeze out everything, in Q4 I didn’t quite manage to do that, so I’m not dissatisfied. The race is long and we’ve got to see what the weather will do. Grid position four isn’t bad,” said Rockenfeller.
Yesterday, Germany’s Martin Tomczyk took the fastest time in practice but today he failed to make it into qualifying four; he will start fifth on the grid with his best lap time of 41.101. The BMW Team RMG driver was not alone in in making the cut for the final shoot-out.
Filipe Albuquerque (Team Rosberg) slots sixth with his best lap of 41.142 in his Audi A5. Adrien Tambay was seventh fastest for Team Abt Audi after clocking a 41.156 in the third qualifying round. Slotting into eighth place was the defending DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom with a time of 41.163 in his Team Abt Audi.
...every lap has to be perfect, without any mistakes.
Landing on the fifth row after Q3 were Augusto Farfus and Jamie Green. The Brazilian for the BMW Team RBM turned his best lap at 41.172; while the Briton clocked a 41.284 for the HWA Mercedes team.
The show will really begin tomorrow for the third round of the season as Paffett explained, “The race is long, almost 100 laps, and there’s no chance to relax, every lap has to be perfect, without any mistakes.”
Paffett looks to add to his points lead by landing his second win this year, and earning the pole is a good start. He will have the local crowd cheering him on to glory. “What’s really nice is securing fastest time in qualifying before my home race. After achieving victory at the opener in Hockenheim and second place in the Lausitz, we’re in with a really good chance of securing another good result tomorrow,” Paffett added.