Hockenheim II: Qualifying report

Heinz-Harald Frentzen on pole-position for DTM final Heinz-Harald Frentzen made his mark at the end of the 2006 DTM season. The driver from Mönchengladbach came out on top after qualifying in mixed conditions and will be starting from ...

Heinz-Harald Frentzen on pole-position for DTM final

Heinz-Harald Frentzen made his mark at the end of the 2006 DTM season. The driver from Mönchengladbach came out on top after qualifying in mixed conditions and will be starting from pole-position in a DTM race for the first time with his Audi A4 DTM tomorrow.

Frentzen was delighted: "I can hardly describe my feeling." Lined-up next to him on the front row of the grid is the record winner of the season, Bruno Spengler with the AMG-Mercedes C-Class.

The Franco-Canadian will be trying to claim his fourth win from the tenth round of the season and thus securing his second place in the championship standings. Third position on the grid is being occupied by the most successful qualifier of the 2006 season, Mercedes-Benz-driver Jamie Green.

Fourth fastest in qualifying was Martin Tomczyk (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) ahead of his team-mate Tom Kristensen, who is still fighting with Bruno Spengler for runner-up position in the chanpionship standings. The Dane requires four points more than his opponent.

Mika Häkkinen will be starting from sixth place with his AMG-Mercedes C-Class. The Finn is facing a difficult job when he wants to defend his fifth position in the championship standings tomorrow, as Häkkinen is only one point clear of pole-sitter Frentzen.

The 2006 champion, Mercedes-Benz-driver Bernd Schneider, will be starting seventh. Thus, he has claimed the title this year without one single pole-position. Eighth place went to Schneider's fellow Mercedes-Benz-driver Daniel La Rosa, who was best-placed driver with a year-old car in qualifying.

For the 2004 DTM champion, Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline), qualifying was over after the second heat. The Swede will be starting from eleventh place on Sunday. Jean Alesi was already out after the first session of the shoot-out qualifying with his AMG-Mercedes C-Class, he qualified 15th.

Only 19 of the 20 cars were taking part in qualifying after Vanina Ickx had hit the barrier in free practice. The Belgian lady racer escaped unscathed, but her Audi A4 DTM couldn't be repaired in time before qualifying started.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (1st place, Audi Sport Team Abt): "I am very happy with my first pole-position. I can hardly describe my feelings and I am very surprised with the result. Here, being on pole is quite important. I am curious to see whether we can get a similarly good result tomorrow. In the first qualifying session, we were having a few problems. Fortunately, we have made the right changes to the set-up, so everything was all right in the end."

Bruno Spengler (2nd place, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes): "I am satisfied with second place on the grid. I made two slight errors in the last two corners, which probably cost me one tenth of a second. Pole-position was certainly within reach, but Heinz-Harald did a great lap indeed."

Jamie Green (3rd place, Salzgitter-AMG-Mercedes): "Third on the grid is a good result. Tomorrow, everything is possible with a good start. All in all, the weekend hasn't been easy so far, because conditions are changing all the time. Being able to celebrate my maiden DTM victory tomorrow would be great."

Audi motor sport director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: "Here, we have seen once again that this qualifying format is great and provides maximum excitement. We have also seen that the cars are incredibly close together and that it just comes down to a perfect lap. This morning already, Heinz-Harald Frentzen was convinced that he had a good car. Maybe this has helped him to get the maximum result with minimum effort."

"Mattias Ekström probably had problems with the tyre pressure. I didn't have the chance to speak to the team yet, we will analyse it later on. In the season opener here, we just weren't strong enough. But we want to umprove and it is our goal to win the race and to secure runner-up position in the championship for Tom Kristensen. The team Abt also hopes that runner-up spot is still within reach."

Mercedes-Benz motor sport director Norbert Haug: "Surely it is not sad to see Heinz-Harald Frentzen on pole-position. By claiming pole, he has shown that he is a good racing driver. I have always said that Audi is strong and in terms of race wins, it is now five to four. Although there are a few things that we could have done better, we are quite strong as a team."

"Bernd's seventh place wasn't our goal. But maybe he just likes to overtake and is sometimes making things more difficult for himself. In any case, that causes exciting racing. Daniel La Rosa has also shown an excellent performance. Just 20 years old, he is in his first year of DTM racing without any experience in touring cars. He was already strong in the season opener and surely this result is like being on pole for him. A big compliment."

-credit: mercedes

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Series DTM
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Vanina Ickx , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Jamie Green
Teams Team Abt