Moscow. Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller has an optimal start into the second half of the DTM season. At Moscow Raceway, the points’ leader claimed pole position for the DTM premiere in Russia. On Sunday, another Audi RS 5 DTM will be lining up next to the 29-year old for the start of the race. Swede Mattias Ekström was classified second. Augusto Farfus from Brazil took third place with his BMW M3 from fellow BMW driver and defending champion Bruno Spengler. Gary Paffett was the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in seventh.
Unexpectedly, qualifying was stopped after the third of four qualifying heats. A flying ban in the airspace over Moscow, issued at short notice, allegedly due to a flight from Russian president Vladimir Putin was the reason that the rescue helicopter was no longer allowed to start. Therefore, qualifying was stopped early and the classification was made according to the order after the third heat. “Of course, that is curious. But I was first before and I remain first. I have pole and that obviously makes me happy. When in Rome, do as the Romans. Let’s wait and see what the weather will bring and what other surprises we will have in Russia,” Rockenfeller said after the third pole of his DTM career.
Third-placed Farfus also showed himself very happy with qualifying in the north-west of Moscow: “We have made some changes to the car that have paid off. The gap to the others was very small. In the race, it will certainly be very close at the start. The thing is to get out of that in a good way.” Brit Jamie Green (Audi) and German Dirk Werner (BMW) will be starting fifth and sixth into the maiden DTM race in Russia.
The 2005 DTM champion, Gary Paffett, ended up seventh with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. “Of course, I am not happy with the result. A goal was to become the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver and that worked out. The other goal, being up front, didn’t,” Paffett said. The three Mercedes-Benz drivers Pascal Wehrlein, Daniel Juncadella and Christian Vietoris rounded out the top ten in eighth, ninth and tenth place.
For the first time since his DTM debut, ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock failed to make it into the second qualifying heat and will be starting from 17th place. Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) from Canada, who finished second at Norisring, had to make do with 18th place on the grid.
In the drivers’ standings prior to the race on Sunday, Rockenfeller (Audi) is leading with 69 points from Spengler (BMW) with 67 and Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz) with 55. The sixth round of the season will cover 74 laps or 189.070 kilometres and starts on Sunday at 13.30 hrs (CET). ARD will be broadcasting live from 13.15 hrs.