Le Mans: Mercedes qualifying report

Pole for Bruno Spengler Mika Häkkinen and Jamie Green third and fourth on the second row Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class) will start tomorrow's ninth and penultimate round of the 2006 DTM at Le Mans from pole position.

Pole for Bruno Spengler
Mika Häkkinen and Jamie Green third and fourth on the second row

Bruno Spengler (DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes C-Class) will start tomorrow's ninth and penultimate round of the 2006 DTM at Le Mans from pole position. In the final seconds of qualifying, Spengler set a time of 1:30.486 minutes and edged out Audi's Tom Kristensen (1:30.518). It is Bruno's second DTM pole position after the Nürburgring in August this year. The Canadian started his pole lap exactly 5.3sec before the chequered flag dropped.

Mika Häkkinen (AMG-Mercedes C-Class) qualified third fastest with a 1:30.853. Alongside him on the second row will start Jamie Green (Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes). On his final lap, the English driver got stuck behind Martin Tomczyk (Audi), lost more than half a second and a place on the first row of the grid. He ended up fourth with a 1:31.062. Alexandros Margaritis (EasyRent AMG-Mercedes/1:31.324) with the 2005 C-Class will start sixth -- his best DTM qualifying result.

Bernd Schneider (Vodafone AMG-Mercedes) qualified ninth with a 1:31.209 and missed the final part of qualifying and the fight for pole position. In the first part, he had posted a superior best time, which would have been good for third place in the final qualifying part. Schneider will start from the fifth row tomorrow. It is his worst qualifying result since Lausitzring in September 2005, when he had started 16th. Schneider needs three points out of the final two races of the season to win his fifth DTM championship.

Schneider was fastest in the first part of qualifying with a 1:30.688. Stefan Mücke (TV Spielfilm AMG-Mercedes) was 15th with a 1:31.569 and missed the second round by 13 thousandths of a second. Jean Alesi (stern AMG-Mercedes C-Class/1:32.046) ended up 17th ahead of Susie Stoddart (AutoScout24 AMG-Mercedes/1:32.311) and Mathias Lauda (Second Hand AMG-Mercedes/ 1:32.436). In the second part, Spengler posted the fastest lap with a 1:30.532, whilst Schneider was ninth and missed the top-eight by 29 thousandths of a second. Daniel la Rosa (TrekStor AMG-Mercedes) qualified 13th with a 1:31.497 and also missed the final part of qualifying.

Bruno Spengler: "I am very happy about my second DTM pole position. Like at the Nürburgring, I accomplished it in the final seconds. The team had prepared the car perfectly and I was able to push throughout qualifying. I like this circuit and I will give it my all tomorrow again. The start will be important and I am sure we will find the optimum strategy."

Mika Häkkinen: "Frankly, I am not satisfied with third place. We lacked some time in the final part of qualifying; otherwise, with a new set of tyres, I would have been able to improve. The circuit is very technical and challenging and I will give it my all tomorrow to score the maximum points."

Jamie Green: "Fourth place on the grid is not bad. On my first lap in the final part of qualifying, I made a small mistake. On my final run I was slowed significantly by Martin Tomczyk who was on his out-lap; otherwise a much better result would have been possible."

Alexandros Margaritis: "So far this was my toughest weekend of the season, as I didn't like this track at the beginning. I owe my sixth grid position mainly to my team; they all worked hard to find the perfect set-up."

Bernd Schneider: "On my first run in the second part I got stuck in traffic. With my second set of tyres, I made one mistake under braking and that was it. I will do my best tomorrow, to end up as high as possible. Congratulations to Bruno on his pole position."

Daniel la Rosa: "The first part was good and I proceeded to the second part easily. Then I got stuck behind an Audi which was just exiting the pits when I was on a flying lap. With my second set of tyres, the car didn't feel so well and I also pushed too hard. Therefore I lost too much time."

Stefan Mücke: "I am not happy. We did not manage to find the optimum speed for a single qualifying lap. In race trim tomorrow we should be in better shape."

Jean Alesi: "It's a shame that I don't have a better basis for my home race, but I will give it my all tomorrow to show an exciting race for my fellow countrymen."

Susie Stoddart: "Actually not a bad qualifying; however, I have to improve significantly tomorrow to reach my target of becoming best driver with a 2004 car."

Mathias Lauda: "I am very disappointed. I did not manage a perfect lap on my first run, afterwards my tyres faded a bit. I also made some mistakes and was too tense."

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "This qualifying was a real thriller. Bruno showed a great performance and clinched pole position in the final seconds. He was the last driver to cross the finish line, like at the Nürburgring when he achieved his first pole. This shows the first-class timing by the HWA team. Headed by Hans-Jürgen Mattheis and Gerhard Ungar, HWA showed a good team performance with Mika Häkkinen and Jamie Green in third and fourth positions respectively.

"Alexandros Margartitis, who is in his second year in the DTM, qualified the last year's C-Class in sixth place, his best DTM qualifying result so far. It's a pity for Bernd Schneider who missed the final part of qualifying by 29 thousandths of a second, but he has the speed as demonstrated by his best time in qualifying one."

"I presume, it will be a fair race between the rivals, then I don't worry about Bernd with his three missing points and his three team mates in the first four positions all want to finish ahead of Kristensen. Here at Le Mans, the oldest and the best known race track in Europe, the DTM shows great sport and the spectators, a great many of whom attended the meeting already on Saturday, can look forward to an exciting race."

-credit: mercedes

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen , Tom Kristensen , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Bruno Spengler , Alexandros Margaritis , Mathias Lauda , Stefan Mücke , Daniel la Rosa , Jamie Green , Gerhard Ungar , Alexandros Marga