New Audi A4 DTM again in a class of its own Ingolstadt/Oschersleben -- For the seventh time in a row, Audi starts from the pole position in the DTM. As at the Hockenheim season opener a week ago, the new Audi A4 DTM cars fielded by Audi Sport...
New Audi A4 DTM again in a class of its own
Ingolstadt/Oschersleben -- For the seventh time in a row, Audi starts from the pole position in the DTM. As at the Hockenheim season opener a week ago, the new Audi A4 DTM cars fielded by Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline were in a class of their own in qualifying at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. Timo Scheider, Tom Kristensen and Martin Tomczyk clinched grid positions one to three for Audi. Youngster Oliver Jarvis in Audi Sport Team Phoenix's A4 from last year in fourth position ensured that the first two rows on the grid are firmly in Audi's hands on Sunday.
The pole position was again captured by the German Timo Scheider in the GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM. At Oschersleben, the 29-year-old set the fastest times in all practice sessions, in the qualifying he relegated his team-mate Tom Kristensen to second place on the grid by 132 thousandths of a second. Scheider kept his cool even when an incident occurred in the first qualifying session: while driving over the kerbs the bonnet of his A4 loosened. Scheider had to start a second trial that saw him move to the front with a commanding lead.
Martin Tomczyk caused quite a bit of suspense as well. He only advanced to position three on the grid shortly before the end of qualifying. On Friday and in the morning's free practice, Tomcyzk had not been completely satisfied yet with the setup of his A4. But at the right moment, everything fit perfectly. Hockenheim winner Mattias Ekstrom, on the other hand, had to settle for eighth place. In the third section the Swede no longer managed to achieve his personal best time from the second session, which would have given him position three on the grid.
Bruno Spengler in fifth, in the quickest Mercedes, was running behind by as much as over half a second. Oliver Jarvis in last year's A4 even managed to move in front of the best Mercedes. By performing this feat, Audi's youngest factory driver -- aged 24 -- confirmed his strong Hockenheim performance.
Markus Winkelhock and Mike Rockenfeller (both of Audi Sport Team Rosberg) secured grid positions nine and eleven. Alexandre Premat set the fifth-quickest time in the first qualifying session but lost control of his A4 in the penultimate turn and heavily crashed into the track barrier. The Frenchman sustained no injuries and will start to the race on Sunday from position 14.
Only for the 2006-spec A4 cars fielded by the Audi customer team Futurecom TME the qualifying practice ended as early as after the first section. Christijan Albers and Katherine Legge occupied places 17 and 18.
The race at Oschersleben will start at 2 p.m. on Sunday. ARD will broadcast live on "Das Erste" starting at 1:45 p.m. (local time). In 2004 and 2006 Tom Kristensen clinched victory for Audi at Oschersleben.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "With four Audi cars in front, of course, there's no other way than to be satisfied. Like at Hockenheim, Timo Scheider was very strong in qualifying, the same is true for Tom Kristensen and Martin Tomczyk. With Mattias Ekstrom, unfortunately, it didn't work out quite as well. I'm particularly happy that we've got Oliver Jarvis so far at the front again, this time even on position four. This youngster is doing a really superb job. We delivered a strong team performance in every respect and thus created a good base for tomorrow."
Timo Scheider (GW:plus/Top Service Audi A4 DTM #10): "I am overjoyed. I really can't believe that I was running in front in all sessions here at Oschersleben and am now on pole again -- that's almost a bit scary. I've had a perfect car since Friday morning and was able to make perfect use of the potential of our Audi A4 DTM. Again, I want to thank my boys in the pit lane, who kept their cool and pefectly handled that moment of shock at the beginning of the qualifying practice when my bonnet loosened a little."
Tom Kristensen (Audi A4 DTM #9): "This is a perfect Saturday for Audi. In spite of the fact that -- so far this weekend -- we've consistently been struggling a bit to make optimum use of the tyres in these cold temperatures, my engineer and my mechanics kept their faith in me and knew I'd be coming forth at some point -- and that was the case in today's qualifying. Congratulations to Timo (Scheider) on his pole position. I'm looking forward to a thrilling race tormorrow."
Martin Tomczyk (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #2): "For me, it was a very exciting qualifying, and now -- honestly -- I feel like a huge load has been taken off. Yesterday, and this morning as well, I wasn't completely satisfied with myself and with the car, that's why I'm all the happier now about the good time I set and my third place on the grid. But, believe me, I didn't keep everyone in suspense deliberately."
Oliver Jarvis (Best Buddies Audi A4 DTM #15): "I'm very happy because fourth place is an outstanding base for me. My whole crew did a fantastic job today. Now I'm going to fully concentrate on driving a good race from this starting base. My sights are clearly set on points, hopefully the weather will co-operate."
Mattias Ekstrom (Red Bull Audi A4 DTM #1): "After my victory at Hockenheim, of course it's disappointing not to be further at the front of the grid. The gaps were very small, even with two tenths of a second less I could have started from the second row. But now, all that counts is the race -- and that will be even more thrilling tomorrow, for me and for the fans."
Markus Winkelhock (Playboy Audi A4 DTM #19): "Qualifying wasn't really bad, but it wasn't really good either. Particularly towards the end, the car wasn't easy to drive, that's why I didn't manage a perfect lap. I'm hoping that the car will have better balance in the race and that I'll move forwards somewhat."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "I think I could have been further towards the front than position 14. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the second session. The rear of my car got out of control and I spun. Altogether, our car is better than at Hockenheim, but we're still not consistent enough. This is something we need to continue working on."
Mike Rockenfeller (S line Audi A4 DTM #18): "I'm disappointed. In the second qualifying session I was running in fifth place for a long time and was in eighth when the session was stopped due to Alexandre Premat's accident. I then started to the third part without having changed tyres, which was probably a mistake."
Alexandre Premat (Audi Bank/Shell Helix Audi A4 DTM #14): "I think I could have been further towards the front than position 14. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake in the second session. The rear of my car got out of control and I spun. Altogether, our car is better than at Hockenheim, but we're still not consistent enough. This is something we need to continue working on."
Christijan Albers (Audi A4 DTM #21): "We've been looking for the right setup here, which we haven't completely managed to come up with yet. My qualifying performance suffered from this as well. Now we need to see that things will go better in the race."
Katherine Legge (Audi A4 DTM #20): "After the tests on Friday we'd been hoping that the 2006-spec Audi A4 DTM cars were closer to the current cars. But as early as in the morning's free practice session things didn't go according to our wishes, and in qualifying the car was not perfect. My goal had been to set a time close to that of my team-mate Christijan Albers. This I managed quite well. Three tenths isn't a big deal."
Hans-Jurgen Abt (Team Director Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): "A top qualifying performance. Places one, two and three for our team are absolutely a dream result. My congratulations also to Oliver Jarvis on his fourth place. Again, a 'well done' from me to my pit crew on having delivered another flawless performance. Despite his place on the grid, I'm not worried about Mattias (Ekstrom) -- anyone who knows him knows that he's truly a racer and will seek his chance tomorrow."
Ernst Moser (Team Director Audi Sport Team Phoenix): "That was a nail- biting qualifying practice with a fantastic result for Audi, and for our team with Oliver Jarvis on position four of the grid as well. That's the positive side of it. On the down side, there's Alex Premat's accident. Now we'll try and keep one of our drivers running in the place he's achieved and moving the other one forwards."
Arno Zensen (Team Director Audi Sport Team Rosberg): "Four Audi cars in front and with a big lead over Mercedes -- that's sensational. For our team, I'd been hoping for a slightly better result. But grid positions nine and eleven are a base on which we can build."