Timo Scheider put together a stonking lap in the final DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) qualifying session at Zandvoort today, to set a time of 1:31.590 around the famed seaside circuit and take the pole for Audi.
Scheider, the defending DTM champion, has yet to make it to the podium in 2010 in the face of strong Mercedes opposition, and sits sixth in the points standings, behind four Mercedes drivers and his teammate Mattias Ekstrom.
"This feels incredibly good, especially after it's been such a difficult season so far," Scheider said. "Coming back in qualifying here at Zandvoort, on one of my favorite tracks, is really special. Particularly after such a difficult early phase it feels good to get everything right."
Scheider's lap time was seven tenths faster than that of Gary Paffett, who managed to edge his Mercedes teammate Paul di Resta in spite of locking up his brakes early in the lap.
"With new tyres, my C-Class handled very well," Paffet recalled. "However, with the used ones in the single-lap qualifying I was sliding and lacked grip. The entire lap was pretty messy, and therefore second place is OK."
Miguel Molina, Audi's Spanish rookie, took an impressive fourth position in a 2008-spec Audi, although he was well back of Paffett and di Resta.
"A wonderful result," he exclaimed. "We did a very good job of working with the car and came up with a nice set-up. This track suits me very well. Now I've made it all the way into Q4 in my first year in the DTM, which is a very difficult thing to do because all the drivers in this championship are very good."
Championship leader Bruno Spengler, who has yet to finish a race off the podium in 2010, will have to work hard to maintain the streak tomorrow, as he will take the start from seventh position.
"In Q1 and Q2 my C-Class was perfect," the Canadian rued the turn of events. "However, all of a sudden the car ran not so well in the third part of qualifying. I don't know why yet and we will have to research what happened."
Spengler's fastest time in Q3, 1:31.710, was in fact more than four tenths slower than that of Scheider, who was the final driver to make it into the final shootout segment.
Between Spengler and the final segment were Mattias Ekstrom, Audi's only race winner so far in 2010, and Oliver Jarvis in another Audi.
Jamie Green, who stands second in the championship points order, was well back in 11th place with his 2008-spec Mercedes.
The 42-lap race will take the start at 2 PM local time tomorrow.