Championship leader Mike Rockenfeller topped the free practice session for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters at Oschersleben, posting the fastest lap in the final five minutes to beat BMW’s Dirk Werner and fellow Audi driver Timo Scheider.
Rockenfeller had been running in the top six throughout the session, and was inside the top five for much of the final half. With five minutes to go he went 0.227 seconds faster than Werner, a time three tenths slower than the faster lap in qualifying in 2012.
Timo Scheider was third fastest, improving his time in the closing minutes of the session, ahead of Team Abt team-mate Adrien Tambay in fourth.
Filipe Albuquerque was fifth fastest for Audi Sport Team Rosberg, having enjoyed a stint on top of the times at the mid-point of the session.
Gary Paffett, who is participating in his 100th DTM race this weekend, ended the session as the top Mercedes-Benz driver in sixth, 0.343 seconds slower than Rockenfeller. Audi’s Edoardo Mortara was seventh fastest.
Theoretically Rockenfeller could be crowned champion this weekend, so long as main rivals Christian Vietoris and Robert Wickens do not score well. Wickens was the quickest of Rockenfeller’s rivals, posting the eighth fastest time, whilst Vietoris ended the session slowest of all in 22nd, 0.977 seconds off the pace.
Mercedes’ Pascal Wehrlein and Audi’s Jamie Green completed the top ten. Reigning champion Bruno Spengler, who is running a special livery this weekend, finished the session in 11th.
Qualifying takes place at 14:40 CEST (13:40 BST) and will be streamed LIVE at TouringCars.Net.