Timo Scheider was the man of the day at the Norisring, the defending DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) champion taking the pole position for Audi with a time of 49.012 seconds, the marque's first in four years of racing at the 2.3-km street...
Timo Scheider was the man of the day at the Norisring, the defending DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) champion taking the pole position for Audi with a time of 49.012 seconds, the marque's first in four years of racing at the 2.3-km street circuit in Nuremberg.
Scheider, who is also leading this year's championship fight, is still looking for his first win of the year, having scored a second and a fifth so far. The pole, though, will make his job much easier than the fifth place he had on the grid in each of the first two races.
"Of course, you always try to remain unaffected by the weather," said Scheider, referring to the recurring sprinkling of rain in Q1 and Q3. "Finding the right set-up was difficult today, but fortunately, we have made the right decisions."
In the end, on the dry track in Q4, Scheider edged his Audi teammate Mattias Ekstrom, the pole winner in each of the first two races, by just 0.111 seconds, with a flying lap in the closing seconds of the final qualifying segment.
Third, just 0.036 seconds further behind, was Bruno Spengler in the fastest of the Mercedes cars.
Spengler held the pole position briefly late in the final segment, but could only watch as Scheider and Ekstrom slipped by him to claim the front row for tomorrow's grid. Still, he managed to keep third by a margin of 0.170 seconds over the fellow Mercedes of Gary Paffett.
"This was the craziest qualifying of my career," the Canadian DTM veteran said. "Never before have I experienced so many changes between dry and wet sections of the track, and there has never been as much radio contact between the team and myself as in this qualifying! However, in these conditions, I am quite happy with third place."
Besides the rain showers that sprinkled the track in the first and third segments, there was confusion in the penultimate segment, as some of the drivers completed more than the permitted eight laps.
Initially, it looked as if Paul Green, Scheider, Maro Engel and Ralf Schumacher had made it into the final shootout segment. However, the race stewards determined that Green, Engel and Schumacher had all completed more than eight laps in trying to get a quick lap on the drying surface.
After a ten-minute delay, the times were disallowed for all three, moving Scheider, Ekstrom, Paffett and Spengler into the final shootout. Katherine Legge also benefited, as her time of 49.406 seconds earned her fifth on the grid, her career-best DTM start.
"Unfortunately, we had a few laps more than the allowed eight in Q3," said Schumacher. "Although I set my fastest time, the fourth fastest in Q3, on my sixth lap I was penalized and will start seventh on the grid. Anyway, it's my best qualifying result of the year and the penalty is a shame because more was possible, but these are the rules."
Scheider, with 12 championship points in his pocket so far, will be looking to extend his lead over Paffett (tied for second with Tom Kristensen at 10 points) and Spengler (fifth with eight points). Not only that, he would like to give a victory to Audi, who is winless since 2002 at this, the only street circuit on the DTM calendar.