Youngster on top spot of the grid for the first time.
Ingolstadt - For the third time in succession, Audi will start the DTM season opener at the Hockenheimring from the top spot on the grid. The Frenchman Adrien Tambay, the 23-year-old son of the former Formula 1 star Patrick Tambay, secured the first pole position in his still young DTM career in a thrilling qualifying session.
Following months of development and testing, the hour of truth came for the Audi squad on Saturday at 16.25. The pleasant conclusion drawn from the years first real assessment of where the squad stands: The new-generation Audi RS 5 DTM is fast. Adrien Tambay in the Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM beat last years best time by more than a second. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline managed to get all four cars into the top eight and thus into the crucial third qualifying segment. With seven RS 5 DTM cars on the best 13 grid positions Audi managed a strong overall showing.
The pole position is a great beginning of the new season, said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. Its a nice reward for what was really an extremely hard workload handled by the whole squad in recent months. Today we saw that the new RS 5 DTM is fast. But BMW is strong as well and we shouldnt count out Mercedes-Benz after a weak qualifying session either. Were very excited about the race tomorrow and the new race format. The spectators can look forward to a thrilling DTM opener. But for the moment were sharing Adriens (Tambay) joy about his first ever pole position in the DTM a strong showing!
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), Miguel Molina and Edoardo Mortara (both Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM) took grid positions five, six and seven for Audi. Molina had achieved the best time in Q2 but in Q3, in front of the hairpin turn at the end of the long Parabolica, braked a little too late, which cost him some crucial tenths of a second.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) and title defender Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM) on their first joint commitment in Audi Sport Team Phoenix, by taking positions ten and eleven, missed making it into the final qualifying section by a very narrow margin. Youngster Nico Müller in the Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg on his DTM debut achieved a respectable 13th place on the grid.
His team-mate Jamie Green suffered major misfortune. The Briton in the orange-colored Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM, after setting a best time in Q2 in the first sector, slipped into the gravel trap of the Sachs Corner and had to settle for grid position 18.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): Of course we watched the DTM qualifying session with one eye from Spa. Well done from here to Hockenheim to the whole DTM squad that, just like the LMP outfit, made an almost superhuman effort in the past days to put a total of eleven new race cars on the grid this weekend eight at Hockenheim and three at Spa. Im happy that I can be on location myself at the race tomorrow.
Dieter Gass (Head of DTM): Tops! It was a very hard winter for everybody and a great reward. We finished the preparation of the race cars only at a late stage. Setting the fastest qualifying time in the first session, where it really counts, was brilliant. Adrien (Tambay) has been waiting for this result for a long time. There have always been flashes of his potential, but it had never been enough for a first place before. Now hes put himself in a very good position for Sunday.
Adrien Tambay (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 1: To be honest, it was difficult for me at first to comment on this. I was speechless. Now Im beginning to calm down. Its really great to be at the very front of the grid here. But Im already thinking about the race. Itll no doubt be tough. But this is my first pole in the DTM, I managed it, and its a great experience.
Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 5: I had a fantastic qualifying, fifth place is very good. We had a few adventures in the morning but we did a good job of resolving them. Im looking forward to the race and think that were going to have a good pace for Sunday because our set-up is geared to the race. Its nice to see Adrien (Tambay) on pole for the first time. He really deserves it.
Miguel Molina (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 6: It was a really good qualifying session for me up to the third section. The best time in Q2 gave me hopes. But then I didnt manage a perfect lap. Still, grid position six isnt a bad starting base, particularly as it seems that our RS 5 DTM is really fast.
Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 7: Ive got mixed emotions. Im a bit disappointed about the final result. Especially in the second section I was very pleased with second place. But okay the race is long and even from seventh place on the grid I should be able to make up a few places. In the race, Audi is traditionally even stronger than in qualifying.
Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 10: The beginning was very difficult. I made a mistake right in the first segment. Then we adjusted the inflation pressure and I was doing a bit better. It felt like the balance in the fast turns was more even. However, I clearly had problems accelerating out of the corners, which cost me a lot of time.
Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 11: Of course Id set my sights on something better than eleventh place. Thats the DTM, in which you dont get any breaks. The result is disappointing, looking at how good my brand colleagues were. I cant be happy, but were going to give everything and drive with a set-up thatll hopefully allow us to move forward. Obviously, Im set on scoring points.
Nico Müller (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM), grid position 13: If someone had told me two weeks ago that Id be in 13th place Id have been happy. Now theres a bit of an aftertaste because with the performance of our Audi it might have even been possible to make it into Q3. The positive feeling remains that things are basically working out pretty well already.
Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM), grid position 18: Position 18 is obviously a disappointing starting base. In the first section, I advanced on only one set of tires. That was very promising. On my first trial in the second section, I crossed the white line with all four wheels and had to reduce my speed afterwards due to the regulations. On the next trial, I drove good sector times but got off track and picked up a lot of gravel. After that, no improvement was possible anymore.
Hans-Jürgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): Obviously, were thrilled. Our four Audi cars in the top eight and the pole position clinched by Adrien Tambay are the reward for hard labor. I want to thank the whole squad. We always believed it but today its become reality: this is a good start of the new season. Of course there are no points awarded for qualifying, but were going to work hard for the race in order to bring home a podium finish.
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): I congratulate Adrien (Tambay) on his pole. He showed how good the Audi RS 5 DTM is. Thats a reassuring feeling. It was tight and we didnt get it on the dot. Thats why we didnt make it into Q3. But were competitive. Weve got a good feeling for the race. The car functions. Thats why Im not unhappy. With good tactics and the right tire choice quite a bit is possible.
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): The first qualifying section didnt go all that badly for us. Sixth place by Nico (Müller) was brilliant. Jamie (Green) drove only on one set of tires and finished in 13th place on it. That was good too. In the second section I can live well with Nicos 13th place too. Hes new in the DTM. This was his first qualifying. In Jamies case the situation was unfortunate. He was headed for Q3 on his fastest lap but then, unfortunately, slipped into the gravel trap. A lot more would have probably been possible for us, but the finding that our car works well is worth a lot too.