Norisring is like a second home for Bruno Spengler: the Canadian took his second DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) pole position at the street circuit, to go with the two victories he has already scored at the event.
"I am really happy about my pole position," the Canadian said. "The Norisring is one of my favourite tracks."
Spengler, who has yet to win in the 2008 DTM season, was dominant throughout the qualifying session, with Mercedes teammate Jamie Green being the only other driver to reach the top of the timesheet, even momentarily. In the end Spengler set a time of 47.785 on the led a Mercedes lockout of the top three grid positions, beating Green out by 0.178 seconds.
"To start from pole offers best chances for the race, Spengler said. "However, particularly here at the Norisring a lot can happen and therefore, we will start the race with full concentration. It is great fun to race in front of such an enthusiastic crowd."
Green, then, wasn't quite able to keep up with Spengler, but still beat out the third-placed Mercedes of Paul di Resta by a mere whisker: six thousandths of a second separated the two teammates.
"I struggled a bit to put all my good sector times together for an optimum lap," he said. "Otherwise I would have been able to challenge Bruno."
di Resta, who is second in the championship standings, has his chief rival and championship leader, Timo Scheider, next to him on the grid. Scheider was the fastest Audi driver on the 2.3-km street course.
Norisring has traditionally been a difficult one for the bavarian marque, in spite of effectively being Audi's home race; the company headquarters are only 100 km away in Ingolstadt. Yet, last year Mercedes took both of the first two rows on the grid, and in 2006, the fastest Audi was back in sixth position.
We managed developing the car in the right direction, despite the fact that in the past Nuremberg wasn't necessarily our forte," Scheider explained. "That's exactly why I've got a positive feeling. I'm happy that we've become clearly more competitive vis-a-vis Mercedes than in recent years. That's why fourth place is not a disappointment."
Martin Tomczyk and Tom Kristensen -- the latter fresh from his record-setting eighth Le Mans victory -- claimed the third row for Audi. Tomczyk was just 13 thousandths behind Scheider with a time 48.041 seconds, with Kristensen a further tenth of a second behind. Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) and Mattias Ekstrom (Audi) took seventh and eighth.
Tomorrow's race, set for 72 laps around the unforgiving street circuit, will mark the halfway point in the DTM season.