Marco Wittmann secures Brands Hatch DTM race one pole in hectic wet-dry...

Marco Wittmann secures Brands Hatch DTM race one pole in hectic wet-dry session

Photo: DTM

BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann narrowly claimed pole position for DTM’s Saturday race in a red flag affected session, with a time of 1 minute 15.654 seconds. The two-time series champion knocked current standings leader Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast off pole with a time only 0.069 seconds faster.

Despite the greasy track conditions, and light rain at some parts of the ‘GP’ layout, the field headed out on the slick Hankook tyres in an effort to set a time before any rain fell.

As drivers took two or three laps to get their tyres up to temperature, BMW Team RMR’s Philipp Eng set the early pace with a lap time of 1 minute 24.542 seconds.

Only five minutes into the session the red flagged was waved as both Audi Sport Team WRT cars found the barrier on the same lap. Pietro Fittipaldi having a sizeable impact at Paddock Hill Bend after spinning round and skipping across the gravel.

Moments later, teammate Jonathan Aberdein went straight on at Clarke Curve and head-on into the barrier. However the South African’s car looked in significantly better condition than his Brazilian teammate.

With considerable damage to the barrier on the outside of Paddock Hill Bend, the session was stopped for nearly 20 minutes.

The session resumed with 14 minutes to go and it was clear drivers needed to set a time immediately.

Eng improved before being knocked off top spot by R-Motorsport’s Jake Dennis who was one of the few drivers using the slick Hankook tyre.

The British driver then improved his time on four consecutive laps to lead at the top of the timings by over a second.

Within the final five minutes, the track was drying considerably and a number of drivers improved their times.

Dennis was finally usurped from pole by Rast before the Audi driver lowered the bar with a blistering 1 minute 15.723 second time.

Then in the final ten seconds of the session, Wittmann claimed pole with a sensational time, narrowly beating Rast by less than seven hundredths of a second.

Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Loïc Duval qualified third with a time of 1 minute 16.012 seconds, and will be joined on the second row by R-Motorsport’s Paul Di Resta claiming Aston Martin’s best qualifying result since the opening round at Hockenheim.

Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline’s Robin Frijns heads the third row with a time of 1 minute 16.249 seconds, over half a second slower than Wittmann’s pole time.

BWM Team RBM rookie Sheldon van der Linde claimed sixth on the grid with a time of 1 minute 16.304 seconds.

Dennis, who was challenging for pole, fell down the order to seventh eventually 0.688 seconds off Wittmann’s fastest time.

The second Abt Sportsline Audi of Nico Müller secured eighth in the dying moments with a time of 1 minute 16.384 seconds, narrowly ahead of BMW Team RMR’s Timo Glock who was over seven tenths adrift of pole.

R-Motorsport’s Daniel Juncadella was tenth fastest, 0.879 seconds slower than Wittmann, but it was good enough for the Swiss outfit to place three cars inside the top ten.

Qualifying result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 11 Marco WITTMANN BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 12 1:15.654 0.000
2 33 René RAST Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi RS5 DTM 13 1:15.723 0.069
3 28 Loïc DUVAL Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS5 DTM 13 1:16.012 0.358
4 3 Paul DI RESTA R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 12 1:16.067 0.413
5 4 Robin FRIJNS Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 14 1:16.249 0.595
6 31 Sheldon VAN DER LINDE BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 14 1:16.304 0.650
7 76 Jake DENNIS R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 13 1:16.342 0.688
8 51 Nico MÜLLER Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 13 1:16.365 0.711
9 16 Timo GLOCK BMW Team RMR BMW M4 DTM 14 1:16.384 0.730
10 23 Daniel JUNCADELLA R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 12 1:16.533 0.879
11 25 Philipp ENG BMW Team RMR BMW M4 DTM 14 1:16.541 0.887
12 99 Mike ROCKENFELLER Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS5 DTM 13 1:16.600 0.946
13 53 Jamie GREEN Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi RS5 DTM 13 1:16.675 1.021
14 7 Bruno SPENGLER BMW Team RMG BMW M4 DTM 12 1:17.087 1.433
15 47 Joel ERIKSSON BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 14 1:17.489 1.835
16 62 Ferdinand VON HABSBURG R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage DTM 12 1:17.510 1.856
17 21 Pietro FITTIPALDI Audi Sport Team WRT Audi RS5 DTM 3 1:27.390 11.736
18 27 Jonathan ABERDEIN Audi Sport Team WRT Audi RS5 DTM 2 1:30.115 14.461