BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann claimed pole in the dying moments of DTM’s frantic Saturday qualifying session at Brands Hatch, knocking championship leader Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast off the pole by 0.068 seconds.
Wittmann took top spot in the final ten seconds of the wet-dry session that was disrupted heavily by a red flag.
As intermittent rain had left the 3.908km ‘GP’ layout damp in places, drivers took the risk to run the slick Hankook tyres, a decision that ultimately proved damaging for Audi Sport Team WRT. Both cars had separate incidents, but it was Pietro Fittipaldi’s heavy impact into the barrier at Paddock Hill bend that lead to the session being red-flagged for nearly 20 minutes.
When the green flag waved and qualifying was resumed, Wittmann set about climbing up the leaderboard as the track dried.
“We have the pace in quali and the race,” the BMW driver explained, “And I think today we showed it again.
“The conditions were super tricky, starting in the wet conditions you have to stay on track.”
A number of drivers switched from wets to slicks after the red flag in a bid to claim the best grid position possible, but with the track still damp off-line the risk of an incident remained high.
“On the slicks there’s only one line,” described the two-time DTM champion, “Especially in the corners and in the second sector.
“You go a little bit wide and you are on the wet and you maybe go off.
“You really try to get to the limit, but it’s difficult to get the perfect time. I think I managed quite well to be honest.”
Wittmann, who is considered a title contender despite being 40 points adrift from championship leader Rast, looks in a good position to score strong points and decrease that deficit, and this pole position bolsters his chances at doing that this weekend.