Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller has taken his third pole position in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters at the Moscow Raceway in Russia – in a bizarre session which saw Q4 cancelled due to the closure of the airspace above the circuit.
The session was brought to an early conclusion following the news that the airspace over the circuit would be closed for two hours to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin’s het to cross. With the circuit’s medical helicopters grounded, qualifying was brought to an early conclusion.
Rockenfeller had posted a time of 58.423 in Q3 to earn him a spot in Q4, and subsequently his second pole position of the season. The German will be joined on the front row of the grid by Swede Mattias Ekström, who was controversially disqualified from victory in the last race at the Norisring.
Augusto Farfus will start from third and as the best-placed BMW driver, with reigning champion Bruno Spengler alongside.
Just missing out on entry into the planned Q4 shoot-out was Jamie Green, who will start from fifth after his second-best qualifying result of the season so-far. Green will have Spengler’s Schnitzer team-mate Dirk Werner alongside him on the third row of the grid.
Gary Paffett was disappointed to qualify as the best of the Mercedes-Benz drivers in seventh, ahead of Pascal Wehrlein in eighth. The young German had originally been set to miss out on entry into Q3, having been thought to have posted the 13th fastest time, but a timing glitch was quickly discovered allowing him to participate in the session.
Daniel Juncadella and Christian Vietoris completed the top ten for Mercedes, with Adrien Tambay in 11th missing out on the opportunity to partake in Q3 as a result of Wehrlein’s timing error.
Robert Wickens went from the highs of pole and second at the Norisring, to struggling in qualifying in Russia, only managing the 18th fastest time. His HWA team-mate Roberto Merhi also struggled in qualifying, spinning out on his way to 22nd and last.
There were further woes for Martin Tomczyk and Andy Priaulx, who both failed to make it out of Q1 for the fourth time in 2013.
Round 6 of the 2013 DTM takes place at 12:33 BST on Sunday (13:33 CEST; 15:33 MST).