Audi’s Timo Scheider took his 11th career pole in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season opener at the Hockenheimring as a drying circuit made for a thrilling qualifying session.
Scheider was third out onto the track in Q4 and posted a 1:35.918 with a solid run. Christian Vietoris, the fastest man in Q3, was last out onto the circuit but was unable to bettter the time set by the DTM’s most experienced driver.
BMW’s Augusto Farfus followed up a strong free practice session to qualify in second alongside Scheider, taking his fourth front-row start since switching to the German series at the start of 2012.
Q3 saw Vietoris post the fastest time, with the session being all about timing. With the track drying over the time it took to post a lap, the quickest times were posted in the dying minutes of the session. The result saw Mattias Ekström and Gary Paffett eliminated from fifth and sixth, despite briefly topping the times with their final efforts.
Reigning champion Bruno Spengler and Mercedes’ débutant Pascal Wehrlein were eliminated and will start from seventh and eighth respectively.
Daniel Juncadella was the top driver not to make it into Q3 and will start from ninth on his DTM début, with US racer Joey Hand alongside him in tenth.
Q2 saw several ‘big’ names being eliminated, amongst them BMW’s Martin Tomczyk and Audi’s Jamie Green, who will start from 11th and 12th. Ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock qualified in 15th on his DTM début, although he beat his young German team-mate Marco Wittmann, with it also being BMW Team MTEK and Wittmann’s début in the series.
With times getting faster as the sessions went on, drivers were under huge pressure to constantly better their times. Q1 was run in mostly wet conditions, which caught out several drivers including Mercedes’ Roberto Merhi, who spun entering the stadium section and made light contact with the barriers. The Spaniard tried to continue before it became apparent the damage was too much.
“I made a stupid mistake,” explained Merhi. “The car was competitive enough, I think, to make Q2. But the car was too damaged to reach second qualifying and then I had some problems when I went back onto the track – it was really hard to drive with so many vibrations.”
Also eliminated in Q1 was Audi’s Edoardo Mortara, who could only manage 19th – the Italian’s worst-ever result since he joined the DTM in 2011.
Problems for Marco Wittmann on his DTM début saw his car crawl to a stop in the stadium section and the German will start from 21st as a result.