Pole position for new Audi A4 DTM Ingolstadt/Hockenheim -- Impressive debut for the new Audi A4 DTM: Timo Scheider (Germany) and Mattias Ekstrom (Sweden) set the best lap times by a wide margin in Saturday's qualifying for the DTM opening race...
Pole position for new Audi A4 DTM
Ingolstadt/Hockenheim -- Impressive debut for the new Audi A4 DTM: Timo Scheider (Germany) and Mattias Ekstrom (Sweden) set the best lap times by a wide margin in Saturday's qualifying for the DTM opening race at Hockenheim. This puts two of the new Audi A4 DTM cars on the front row of the grid for the race that is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
As early as in the free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday morning the Audi drivers had set the pace. In the first segment of the three-part qualifying all four new Audi A4 DTM cars were running in front and easily made it into the last section as well. Audi was the only one of the two manufacturers to see all four new cars finish among the top eight.
The pole position was clinched by Timo Scheider in the GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM, who will thus be starting to a DTM race from the top grid position for the third time in his career. Alongside the German, title defender Mattias Ekstrom in the Red Bull Audi A4 DTM is on the front row. Scheider and Ekstrom were the only two drivers to set times below 1m 33s. Bruno Spengler in the quickest Mercedes on position three was almost four tenths of a second slower -- an unusually large gap in the DTM.
Tom Kristensen will start the race from fifth place, Martin Tomczyk from position seven. Between the second and third qualifying section, the rear wheel camber of the A4 driven by the German was changed. This took longer than expected and meant that Tomczyk was prevented from using a second tyre set in the crucial, final section.
A surprising result was achieved by Oliver Jarvis: the 24-year-old driver of the Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM fielded by Audi Sport Team Phoenix immediately managed the leap into the top eight at his DTM debut. This made the young Brit not only the best newcomer, but the quickest driver of a car from last year.
For the DTM season opener at Hockenheim advance ticket sales alone amounted to over 44,000. The race will start at 2 p.m. on Sunday. ARD will broadcast live from the Hockenheim circuit, starting at 1:45 p.m. (local time). For the first time, the revised DTM regulations requiring the two mandatory pit stops to be made only in the second third of the race will apply. Team orders are prohibited and -- for the first time as well -- TV will listen in on team radio communications during the race.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "So far we've got every reason to be satisfied because we showed a very strong team performance. Obviously, the new Audi A4 DTM functions very well. I'm hoping that we'll be a credit to the fantastic road-going model with our racing car. Clinching pole the first time out -- that's definitely a superb accomplishment. What's more, we've shown a solid team performance. I'm particularly happy for Timo (Scheider), who has been very strong all weekend and managed to translate this strength into the pole position. But all the others showed a really good performance as well. And you cannot overemphasize that Oliver Jarvis -- in his first DTM qualifying of his career -- finished among the top eight. He can rightfully be proud of this."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "Sensational! We were strong from the very first practice session onwards. Straight from my first lap I had a very good feeling. We changed almost none of the settings on the car after the first practice session. That's unusual for a race weekend. Normally, we do a lot more mechanical work. Very minor changes resulted in perfect balance. That's why we're on pole. I want to thank Audi and the Abt squad for a great car."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "I feel really comfortable in the new A4 DTM. I'm convinced we are well prepared. We did a good long run during the test, managed a strong qualifying performance, and I'm on the front row. Our chances for the race on Sunday are good."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "Audi did a superb job during the winter months. The car is good and quick. Personally, I still need a few more kilometres in the car. Honestly: today the car was better than I. In the last sector I spun a bit several times. That cost me third place. Nevertheless, my starting base is okay. As early as on Friday I had the impression that the car, during the long run, felt better than any other Audi before it."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "It was really okay -- except for the last trial. Between the second and third section we changed the camber. We were running out of time, so I had only one trial on new tyres. I set my time on this set of tyres on the third lap -- without the slightest chance to achieve a top time. That's too bad because a better result would probably have been possible."
Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "That was really pretty tough! I could hardly believe how quickly the various sections were over. The qualifying format is very demanding. You've got to constantly drive at the limit and can be pleased if you manage two trials in one session. I'm delighted to have finished among the top eight in my first qualifying practice. Now I'm hoping for a strong race on Sunday."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "Finishing in eleventh place was a decent result. Of course I'd have liked to make it into the third part of the qualifying session, which would have been possible, too. But on my new set of tyres I made a mistake. Since we've got a very setup, I'm hoping to achieve a nice result in the race."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "It's disappointing. In the free practice session this morning we were still pretty good. With the same time in qualifying, I wouldn't have looked too bad. The circuit and the car's balance changed a lot. I also didn't manage a really good lap, so it was my fault. We'd been hoping to finish among the top ten. Twelfth place is a pretty sobering experience. We're going to fight in the race, but the gap to the new cars shows that it'll be difficult to keep the pace."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "Qualifying wasn't perfect. After the free practice I'd been hoping to achieve a better result because the car worked very well then. I was running on a new set of tyres when I made a mistake and had to stop the lap. So, I drove my personal best time on new tyres only on the second lap which is normally clearly slower. What's more, I didn't catch a free lap. But considering all this, my time wasn't bad. Balance, however, significantly changed between the morning and the afternoon. I'm disappointed. On Sunday, things have got to get better in the race."
Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "I think we did a very good job with the team. I'm satisfied. In the free practice session the car was very difficult to drive. In qualifying, though, I managed driving a fast lap. Hopefully, on Sunday, it will even be a bit better. I think it was a smart move to drive only on used tyres in the second trial. I'm eager to see what that will do for us tomorrow."
Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "My first DTM qualifying was a fascinating experience, even though it didn't go quite the way we'd been hoping it would. On my first set of tyres I made a mistake. On the second set I lost a lot of time, partly because I was slowed by another car."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "The result is incredibly great, particularly considering how hard we worked for this. Congratulations to the entire squad! We always believed that we're competitive here. However, that things would be going this well with the A4 DTM was wishful thinking -- and it turned into reality. We saw that the new car is absolutely competitive."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "We're very satisfied with the first qualifying of the season. Alex (Premat) was strong, as we'd expected, even though, unfortunately, he didn't make it into the top eight. The times were very close. The big surprise is our young Englishman, Oliver (Jarvis). I take my hat off to a driver who -- in such a strong field -- finishes among the top eight straight away."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "I'm disappointed as -- after places six and eight in free practice -- my expectations were higher. We could have achieved a better result but we made a mistake. We changed a setting on the car because we expected the track to change in such a way that the car would have had heavier understeer. If we hadn't made any changes, I suppose we would have been better off. On Sunday we need to find a good setup and do a better job."