Pole thriller -- Green ahead of HÃ¤kkinen and EkstrÃ¶m Qualifying for the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz was highly exciting. The top position changed by the second. "I am really happy. Today, my team chose the right strategy," the pole-sitter...
Pole thriller -- Green ahead of Häkkinen and Ekström
Qualifying for the DTM at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz was highly exciting. The top position changed by the second. "I am really happy. Today, my team chose the right strategy," the pole-sitter cheered. In a heart-stopping final, Mercedes-Benz-driver Jamie Green claimed his second pole-position of the season.
The Brit lapped the 3.442 kilometres long track in 1.19.390 minutes. Green had already been fastest in qualifying for the DTM race in the lower Lausitz region in September last year. In total, it was the fourth pole-position of his DTM career.
His fellow Mercedes-Benz-driver and former F1 world champion Mika Häkkinen is lined up alongside the 23-year old for tomorrow's race. The Finn was 0.24 seconds down. Third fastest time in the final session of the best eight drivers of the new shoot-out qualifying in slight drizzle was set by Mattias Ekström with the Red Bull Audi A4 DTM.
The winner of the season opener at the Hockenheimring, Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG Mercedes), was fourth ahead of Audi-driver Tom Kristensen. Next was a trio of Mercedes-Benz drivers. French driver, Jean Alesi, was in sixth position with the best-placed car from last year, followed by Canadian Bruno Spengler and Greek Alexandros Margaritis in seventh and eighth place respectively.
Former runner-up in the Formula 1 world championship, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, didn't make it into the seven minutes' final session with his Veltins Audi A4 DTM and will now be starting from tenth position behind fellow-Audi-driver Christian Abt into the second round of the DTM season over a distance of 48 laps.
On Sunday, the two ladies in the 20 car field, Susie Stoddart (AutoScout24) and Vanina Ickx (Futurecom TME), will be starting from 18th and 20th place respectively.
As Dutch driver, Olivier Tielemans, had come off the track with his car in the first session and had to be recovered, action was interrupted for nine minutes. After that, the clerk of the course decided to combine the first and the second session of the three-way "shoot-out qualifying". Thus, all drivers had the opportunity to make it among the best eight in 20 minutes.
Jamie Green (1st place, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes):
"Because of the weather, the final session was particularly difficult. In these conditions, you don't know before every corner how slippery it will be. I am happy that my team sent me out so early, because like that, my tyres became quite warm and I could make it to pole."
Mika Häkkinen (2nd place, AMG-Mercedes):
"Conditions in qualifying were very difficult. Especially then, you just can't make one single mistake. Fortunately, I was out in time, so that my tyres became more or less warm. Tomorrow's race will be hard. I am happy with the result."
Mattias Ekström (3rd place, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline):
"These changing conditions are enough for the remainder of the season. But it made qualifying interesting. Sometimes, you win in such conditions, sometimes, you lose. For me, third place is okay."
Norbert Haug Mercedes-Benz motorsport director:
"When you make it with six cars into the top eight, it shows a good team performance. And here at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, we saw again that the concept with the cars from last year is working out. In this qualifying session, our strategy was right and we were out on the track at the right time."
"All in all, the two makes were at the same level. Had Mattias Ekström had another lap, it would certainly have been close. But Jamie Green set the pace throughout this qualifying session. I hope that he can convert it into a good result tomorrow. Pole-position surely is a good result, but tomorrow's race is yet another issue."
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi motorsport director:
"Too bad that we just got third and fourth place. We only have a team result from ninth through 14th place. Here, we still have to get better. But tomorrow is another day and the race is tomorrow. We will concentrate and try to make the best out of it. Mattias Ekström and Tom Kristensen are two drivers who are really quick. The new qualifying format has proven to be more than right. Today, it was again as exciting as it comes."