DTM

Zandvoort: Qualifying report

Mattias Ekström takes big step towards securing title It couldn't have gone any better for the leader in the overall standings: Mattias Ekström won the super pole for the eighth DTM race in Zandvoort in emphatic fashion. The Audi driver lapped...

Mattias Ekström takes big step towards securing title

It couldn't have gone any better for the leader in the overall standings: Mattias Ekström won the super pole for the eighth DTM race in Zandvoort in emphatic fashion. The Audi driver lapped the fastest time of the 10 fastest drivers from qualifying, needing 1:34.051 minutes for the 4.307-kilometre-long circuit through the dunes.

His fierce rival in the battle for the championship, Gary Paffett, secured the second start place with a lap time of 1:34.168 minutes in his AMG-Mercedes C-class. The Briton is only 11 points behind the Swede with three races left before the final at the Hockenheimring in early October. Champion Bernd Schneider kept alive his theoretical chance of defending his title with a third start place (1:34.537).

Mattias Ekström's toughest rival, local hero Christijan Albers, only managed start place seven with his C-class. Second in the overall standings (nine points behind), he was unable to exploit his home advantage: Audi drivers Martin Tomczyk, Christian Abt and Tom Kristensen edged him out for the places four to six.

Manuel Reuter, third in the last DTM race at the Motopark Oschersleben, drove his Opel Vectra GTS V8 into eighth place. His team mates Timo Scheider and Marcel Fässler will be contesting tomorrow's race right behind him.

Mattias Ekström (1st start place, Audi):

"My Audi handled very well in qualifying and that's why I also had a good feeling for the super pole. I noticed fast that the grip wasn't that great anymore and that time was running away. I only realised in the last turn that it was enough for the pole. I'll go full throttle and aim for a perfect race so that I can extend my lead. And I hope that my three Audi colleagues will give the two Mercedes lads behind me a run for their money."

Gary Paffett (2nd start place, Mercedes-Benz):

"It wasn't a perfect lap because I'm not in pole position. In qualifying my first lap was also my fastest of the weekend so far. But unfortunately right then I made a mistake but am nevertheless pleased to have squeezed into the super pole. We'll do our best tomorrow to ensure that Mattias doesn't extend his lead."

Bernd Schneider (3rd start place, Mercedes-Benz):

"My car handled perfectly in qualifying. But in the super pole I sadly already made a mistake in the first bend, which cost me a few tenths. But we can be satisfied with the third place. I'm close to Gary and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It will be an exhausting and tough race, anything can happen."

Manuel Reuter (8th start place, Opel):

"I'm disappointed with the result as I'd been reckoning with a place among the top four. My Vectra was great in qualifying, but I had problems with oversteering in the super pole as there was sand and dust on the track. Today's times don't really reflect our potential. We already proved in Oschersleben that we're strong in the race. My target is a place in the top five."

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi Motorsport Director:

"That was an incredibly exciting qualifying. The very smallest of mistakes is immediately punished within such a competitive field. But Mattias once again managed to pull off a perfect performance - and did this amid immensely tough competition. We're pleased with the pole position and the positions four to six through Martin Tomczyk, Christian Abt and Tom Kristensen."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director:

"Congratulations to Gary Paffett. He managed his personal fastest lap time of the weekend at the absolute crucial moment in the super pole. He's adept at that. Bernd Schneider also gave a great performance. Christijan Albers sadly didn't manage it. Qualifying was already exciting, and I'm convinced that at least five drivers can win the race."

Volker Strycek, Opel Motorsport Director:

"It's certainly good having three Opel drivers in the top 10. However, we were expecting to be further towards the front. The change in the track's conditions during the course of qualifying cost us a lot of time. Manuel Reuter, for example, lost six tenths in the first section. Nevertheless, we are confident going into the race thanks to our very good and consistent times from yesterday's and today's training sessions - we'll do our utmost."

-dtm-

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About this article
Series DTM
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Marcel Fassler , Martin Tomczyk , Bernd Schneider , Manuel Reuter , Christijan Albers , Timo Scheider , Norbert Haug , Christian Abt , Mattias Ekström , Volker Strycek , Gary Paffett