DTM

Brands Hatch: Kristensen on pole

Kristensen takes second pole in a row from Green British fans could not have hoped for a better warm-up for this afternoon's eagerly awaited World Cup quarter final match between their home team and Portugal: qualifying for the fourth season...

Kristensen takes second pole in a row from Green

British fans could not have hoped for a better warm-up for this afternoon's eagerly awaited World Cup quarter final match between their home team and Portugal: qualifying for the fourth season round of the DTM at the 1.929 kilometres short Brands Hatch Indy circuit brought touring car action at its best. Eventually, the shoot-out session saw 41-year old Dane Tom Kristensen claim his second pole position in a row with his Audi A4 DTM.

His fastest lap time of 42.406 seconds brought him the fourth DTM pole of his career and the 31st for Audi. "We knew that the car would be good at this track.. Tomorrow's race will be very, very hot and I am happy that I am able to start from the front row." For tomorrow's 85 lap race Kristensen will be lining up on the front row of the starting grid alongside British Mercedes-Benz-driver Jamie Green, who was 0.248 seconds slower.

With cars going round the track in just a little bit more than 40 seconds, there was action all over the place at the traditional motor racing facility in the Kent county. The spectators had a heart-stopping moment as Heinz-Harald Frentzen lost control over his Audi A4 DTM going into Paddock Hill Bend on his second timed lap in the third and final qualifying heat. The ex-Formula 1 driver hit the tyre wall at high speed. Almost at the same time, double F1-world champion Mika Häkkinen hit the pit wall with his AMG-Mercedes C-Class.

The cars of both drivers were quite heavily damaged, but Frentzen and Häkkinen both escaped unscathed. The session was stopped and continued with five minutes to go once the cars had been recovered, but Kristensen's leading position remained unaffected. Heinz-Harald Frentzen's best time was still good for third place ahead of fellow-Audi driver Mattias Ekström. The third grid row is being occupied by Merceds-Benz-pairing Bruno Spengler and Bernd Schneider.

Best-placed driver with a year-old car is Christian Abt, who qualified ninth with his Audi A4 DTM, one place ahead of Frank Stippler, who had topped the time sheets in this morning's free practice session. Dutch driver Jeroen Bleekemolen qualified his 2004-spec Audi A4 DTM in 17th place on his return in the DTM after an absence of one and a half years. This made him the best-placed driver with a two year old car.

Scottish driver Susie Stoddart was 19th with her AMG-Mercedes C-Class. She qualified one place ahead of the other lady racer in the DTM-field, Belgian Audi-driver Vanina Ickx. One of the spectators was last year's DTM champion and current test driver of the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1-team, Gary Paffett, who came to visit his former colleagues. "A good qualifying result and no mistakes in the race are the keys to success at Brands. Tomorrow's race will be very exciting", Paffett said.

Tom Kristensen (1st place, Audi Sport Team Abt):

"I am very happy with pole position, as I set the fastest time on my final attempt in the third heat. We knew that the car would be good at this track.. Tomorrow's race will be very, very hot and I am happy that I am able to start from the front row."

Jamie Green (2nd place, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes):

"Having a good grid position is very important here. I was fastest in the first and second heat and second in the final session, but all in all, I am really satisfied with the performance in my home round so far. Racing at home is always good fun and when the results are good, it is even better!"

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (3rd place, Audi Sport Team Abt):

"The accident looked worse than it actually was. Unfortunately, the car appears to be very badly damaged and my mechanics will have a lot of work to do to get it up and running for tomorrow's race. Third place is still a good starting position for tomorrow's race"

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi Motor sport director:

"We are looking forward to a great weekend of racing here at Brands Hatch. The drivers are looking forward to the race, but they know that they can crash heavily when they get off the track. The huge number of laps tomorrow is not really causing worries as far as tyres are concerned. We have seen that we can do long stints as well."

"At this track, strategy will be much more important as overtaking is neigh impossible. I also hope for fairness among the drivers, not to block cars with fresh tyres. Heinz-Harald Frentzen tried to do a very quick lap time and then unfortunately lost control. I don't know yet how bad the damage is, but the mechanics probably won't be able to watch the football match between England and Portugal."

Hans-Jurgen Mattheis, Team manager H.W.A. GmbH:

"First of all, coming back to the UK with the DTM is a great honour for us. Especially for Mercedes-Benz with Jamie Green, who is really eager to stage a good result in his home round. At the end of the main straight. Mika Häkkinen was a bit too quick. I didn't have a close look at the car yet, but probably it is not damaged too much. The race here at Brands Hatch is a good way to prepare for the next round at Norisring. The track is equally short and cockpit temperatures will hardly be any higher in Nuremberg."

-dtm-

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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Vanina Ickx , Bernd Schneider , Christian Abt , Gary Paffett , Frank Stippler , Jamie Green
Teams Team Abt