DTM

Catalunya: Audi qualifying report

Audi driver Timo Scheider on front row again o Good starting base for DTM leader at Barcelona o Just 31 thousandths short of pole position o Eight Audi A4 DTM cars on first six rows Ingolstadt/Barcelona -- At the DTM's ninth round...

Audi driver Timo Scheider on front row again

o Good starting base for DTM leader at Barcelona
o Just 31 thousandths short of pole position
o Eight Audi A4 DTM cars on first six rows

Ingolstadt/Barcelona -- At the DTM's ninth round at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona (Spain) leader of the standings Timo Scheider will again start from the first row of the grid. In the most gripping qualifying session the season has seen so far the Audi "factory" driver was merely 31 thousandths of a second short of reaching the pole position.

In the third and crucial qualifying segment the 29-year-old was bumped from first to second place by record champion Bernd Schneider only in the last second. Nevertheless, Scheider can be satisfied: all of his rivals in the title fight will line up behind his GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM on the grid on Sunday. Scheider himself starts from the front row for the sixth time this year.

Each of the first three rows are shared by an Audi and a Mercedes driver. Martin Tomczyk, who had secured the pole position at Barcelona during the past two years, will start from position four, Mattias Ekstrom from sixth place. The first six cars were separated in qualifying by a razor-thin gap of merely 156 thousandths of a second.

A strong performance was shown by Mike Rockenfeller and Alexandre Premat as well. The two youngsters, who had captured the title in the european-based Le Mans Series with the Audi R10 TDI at Silverstone last Sunday, made it into the final qualifying segment in their year-old cars and will share the fourth row of the grid on Sunday.

Tom Kristensen was very unlucky yet again: The Dane was the quickest in the first qualifying segment and about to set another top time in the second session as well when he caught the Mercedes of Gary Paffett. Finishing ninth, the Le Mans record winner missed the leap into the top eight for the second time in a row.

With eight A4 DTM cars on the first six rows, the Audi squad has achieved a good starting base for the race on Sunday, in which tyre wear will play a crucial role. ARD will broadcase live from Barcelona on "Das Erste" starting at 1:45 p.m. (CEST). As usual, Audi.tv airs highlights and background reports.

Quotes after qualifying

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport: "I'm satisfied with the qualifying result. We saw that the situation here will be very tight. We've positioned one car on each of the first three rows of the grid and on the fourth we've even got two cars from last year. This shows that we're very strong as a team. Tom Kristensen certainly had the potential of finishing among the top three today. Unfortunately, he hit traffic in the second qualifying section and thus wasn't able to finish his good lap. That's very disappointing for him because his performance has been good throughout the weekend. Our objective must be to clinch as many points as possible with a good strategy and good pit stops. We're aiming for results which assure that our situation in the championship is not impaired but even improved."

Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "We can be absolutely happy today: We're on the front row and have beaten our main rivals -- that's the most important thing for us. Overtaking is not easy at Barcelona, so tomorrow we'll first try and create some space for ourselves in the first three turns. Then things will really start to get exciting: The boys from Mercedes are strong and the weather could turn into a lottery."

Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "Actually, I'm quite satisfied. The DTM has shown how close the field can be. Today, just a tiny bit of luck was missing. Thousandths are as short as the flicker of an eyelid."

Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I'm very disappointed to have finished only in sixth place. In the morning we were still confident. Now we've got to look towards the race with optimism."

Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "I'm very satisfied. After being the quickest one of the Audis from last year all weekend, I'm happy to have converted this into a respective qualifying result as well -- particularly after the most recent races, which tended to be somewhat difficult. I'm also pleased about Alex (Premat) being on eighth place at my side; after all, he's my sportscar team-mate in the LMS. From that perspective, it's a great day, which I'm really enjoying. I know how hard it is in the DTM to get everything right on the dot."

Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "That was a difficult qualifying, although it didn't go all that badly for me. Between first place and my position there's only a gap of three tenths. It was a really close competition. For the first time this season, I made it into the third qualifying. On the whole, things went very well for Audi with the 2007-spec cars."

Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "The qualifying started very well. In the first section I was the quickest. In the second section I drove directly behind a Mercedes in the last chicane and had to lift. So I was obstructed and that's why I didn't manage to get into the top eight. I'm very disappointed. The dense traffic reminded me of Brands Hatch. There, the situation was the same on the short circuit, but here, there's a negative aftertaste."

Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "I'm very disappointed about the qualifying. I'd been hoping for a place among the top eight. But the car was incredibly difficult to drive and was oversteering heavily. I'm very disappointed about eleventh place."

Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "I think that we again achieved the maximum in qualifying. Of course I've liked standing in front of all 2007-spec cars. But you've got to be realistic enough to see that that's nearly impossible. The team and I did a good job after Friday afternoon had been very difficult. We found the problem. The result is our reward for this."

Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "The situation could hardly have been worse. In the first qualifying the car was still feeling okay. On the next two sets of tyres in the second qualifying it was almost un-driveable. There was no more balance. When entering turns the car was massively oversteering."

Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "The qualifying was a disaster. I don't know exactly what the reason was. The car felt completely different on the first set of tyres than on the second one. In free practice in the morning the car had still felt pretty good."

Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "That was one of the most captivating qualifying sessions I've ever seen. Of course it was very exciting for all of us. In the end, the field has a very good mix. We've got a good starting base. We hope that we've got a great race ahead of us tomorrow."

Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "With places eight and eleven we can be satisfied. The new and the old cars are incredibly close together. Here we're able to finish in the points on our own strength. That's fun. Tomorrow we'll try and make the best of it."

Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Fantastic. I'm happy for 'Rocky' having achieved a good qualifying result. Seventh place is great. He outperformed two new cars and is the best driver of a used car. Sensational! With Markus, the car suddenly just wouldn't work any more although we made no changes to it. We need to analyse why that happened."

-credit: audi.de

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Mattias Ekström , Katherine Legge , Gary Paffett , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Oliver Jarvis , Markus Winkelhock , Hans-Jurgen Abt
Teams Team Abt , Phoenix Racing , Audi Sport Team Rosberg