Nurburgring DTM: Auer snatches last-gasp pole

Mercedes driver Lucas Auer beat BMW's Marco Wittmann to pole position by a tenth of a second in a thrilling Saturday DTM qualifying at a drying Nurburgring.

Auer timed his final run to perfection and managed an eleventh-hour 1m25.968s effort to usurp Wittmann at the chequered flag.

The two wet-weather practice sessions that kickstarted the race weekend were both headed by Mercedes, but conditions changed in time for qualifying, with rain abating and the track surface drying rapidly.

Initial runs were still made on rain tyres, with the Mercedes of Robert Wickens eventually assuming control on a 1m33.520s as he headed Audi's Mike Rockenfeller and three of his fellow Silver Arrows drivers.

By that point, however, several teams were ready to gamble on the slicks – and heading into the final minutes, dry tyres were now the preferred choice.

Wickens' benchmark was initially surpassed by Audi duo Loic Duval and Rene Rast, before Timo Glock (BMW) found almost three seconds with a 1m29.278s lap.

But times were dropping further still and, as the chequered flag fell, Wittmann was now in control on a 1m26.067s – only to be beaten at the last second by Auer.

Wickens was four tenths off the pace in third, ahead of Augusto Farfus (BMW), practice pace-setter Paul di Resta (Mercedes) and Tom Blomqvist (BMW).

Audi, saddled with the heaviest car on the grid under the performance weights system, struggled. Championship contender Rast finished as the Ingolstadt marque's top runner in seventh, heading Glock, who was narrowly denied a crucial final run at the chequered flag.

Mercedes' Maro Engel and BMW's Maxime Martin made up the top 10, ahead of Audi's championship leader Mattias Ekstrom and stablemate Rockenfeller.

Qualifying results:

1 22 austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'25.968  
2 11 germany Marco Wittmann BMW M4 DTM 1'26.067 0.099
3 6 canada Robert Wickens Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'26.378 0.410
4 15 brazil Augusto Farfus BMW M4 DTM 1'26.484 0.516
5 3 united_kingdom Paul di Resta Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'26.912 0.944
6 31 united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist BMW M4 DTM 1'27.044 1.076
7 33 germany René Rast Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.062 1.094
8 16 germany Timo Glock BMW M4 DTM 1'27.191 1.223
9 63 germany Maro Engel Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'27.270 1.302
10 36 belgium Maxime Martin BMW M4 DTM 1'27.446 1.478
11 5 sweden Mattias Ekström Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.682 1.714
12 99 germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.760 1.792
13 2 united_kingdom Gary Paffett Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'27.842 1.874
14 53 united_kingdom Jamie Green Audi RS5 DTM 1'28.112 2.144
15 7 canada Bruno Spengler BMW M4 DTM 1'28.206 2.238
16 48 italy Edoardo Mortara Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'28.338 2.370
17 51 switzerland Nico Müller Audi RS5 DTM 1'28.625 2.657
18 77 france Loic Duval Audi RS5 DTM 1'29.274 3.306
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About this article
Series DTM
Event Nürburgring
Track Nürburgring
Drivers Robert Wickens , Marco Wittmann , Lucas Auer
Article type Qualifying report