Hockenheimring: Mercedes-Benz qualifying report

Paul Di Resta and Maro Engel only on rows three and four 2008 DTM Runner-up Paul Di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class) will start Sunday's 2009 DTM season opener in Hockenheim from sixth place on the grid. In the third part of the new qualifying...

Paul Di Resta and Maro Engel only on rows three and four

2008 DTM Runner-up Paul Di Resta (AMG Mercedes C-Class) will start Sunday's 2009 DTM season opener in Hockenheim from sixth place on the grid. In the third part of the new qualifying format, he posted a time of 1m32.456 and missed the premiere of the shoot-out for pole position, a single-lap qualifying of the four fastest drivers, by 69 thousandths of a second. Mattias Ekstrom took pole position with a 1m32.535.

Maro Engel with his 2008 GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class qualified seventh with a 1m32.714. Gary Paffett (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), 2005 DTM Champion, ended up 11th with a 1m33.072 ahead of Ralf Schumacher (Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class) with a time of 1m33.226.

Qualifying, part 1:

Di Resta was the fastest Mercedes-Benz driver in third place (1m33.103) whilst Mathias Lauda (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) in 15th place with a 1m34.360 did not make it to the next round. Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) was fastest at this moment but lost this time because he had crossed the red field outside the first corner during this lap. On his final lap he retired without fuel and ended up 19th.

Jamie Green (JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) was not able to start the qualifying, after an accident in the morning's free practice had damaged his car. Jamie ran wide at the fast first corner after the start (Nordkurve) so that his car lifted off over the new kerbs. The impact when it landed was so hard that even the engine was damaged and could not be repaired in time for qualifying. Afterwards, track officials decided to modify the kerbs to avoid similar accidents.

Qualifying, part 2:

Again, Di Resta was the best C-Class driver and ended up sixth with a 1m32.505. Paffett came home 11th with a 1m33.072 ahead of Schumacher with a 1m33.226; Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) finished 14th, 1m33.339 -- all three did not reach the third part of qualifying.

Paul Di Resta (2009 AMG Mercedes C-Class), 6th (1:32.456): "Today was really not our day, but even from sixth on the grid something is possible tomorrow. I put the qualifying result already behind me and look forward to the race. I am confident that we will do better tomorrow."

Maro Engel (2008 GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class), 7th (1:32.714): "Seventh on the grid is a great start to the new season and my best DTM qualifying result so far. The guys did a perfect job and the car was super in qualifying. I thank everybody in the team."

Gary Paffett (2009 Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class), 11th (1:33.072): "In the first part of qualifying, everything went very well, but in the second part the car's balance was not OK. We were not fast enough and will now analyse where I lost time."

Ralf Schumacher (2009 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class), 12th (1:33.226): "I am still not fully used to the new C-Class, therefore I didn't manage to get the optimum out of the car. This was certainly my fault and is not to blame the car. However, it will be a long and tough race -- everything will be possible."

Susie Stoddart (2008 TV-Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class), 14th (1:33.339): "The first qualifying was OK and my times were good in all three sectors. In the second part, the rear end of the car was very nervous and I was not able to post a better time. We have to optimise the set-up for tomorrow."

Mathias Lauda (2008 stern AMG Mercedes C-Class), 15th (1:34.360): "I also damaged my car on the Kerbs in turn 1 and therefore I had not so much running. This is why I couldn't do better in qualifying."

Bruno Spengler (2009 Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class), 19th (2:40.586): "On my timed, fastest lap I didn't drive across that red field at turn 1, I touched it on my in-lap which meant that I lost my time. At 14:02 h I held the best time and in the end of Q1 first place was one tenth better than my time. I think that my wrong lap time was cancelled and I was sure to have been in a good position for the first three rows. Despite this decision I will try to score points tomorrow."

Jamie Green (2008 JungeSterne AMG Mercedes C-Class), 20th (no time): "In this morning's free practice, I was a bit too fast and hit the kerbs, which hasn't been a problem at this corner so far. However, over the new kerbs the car went flying and landed really hard. The impact even damaged the crank case and the team had to change the engine. Let's wait and see what I can do starting from last place on the grid."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "This is everything but a custom-made beginning. First, we lost Jamie Green's car at the first corner where it was damaged on the kerbs which had been built at the end of last week's test. Then Bruno Spengler's time was cancelled -- wrongly, as we think and as we believe to have seen on video. Unfortunately, Gary Paffett and Ralf Schumacher did not do better than places 11 and 12 and Paul Di Resta in sixth place was almost four tenths of a second behind the best time -- all in all we certainly were not good enough today. However, we are happy about the performance of Maro Engel in seventh place with the 2008 C-Class, all our other results are certainly not as they should be. Anyway: The race is only tomorrow and as long as this is not finished, all our drivers and teams will fight to improve, even if our position is as poor as it can be."

-credit: m-b

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Norbert Haug , Mattias Ekström , Bruno Spengler , Gary Paffett , Mathias Lauda , Maro Engel , Jamie Green