Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline is jubilating at Brands Hatch: At his 48th DTM event (Sunday starting at 2:40 p.m. CEST live on "Das Erste”) Mike Rockenfeller secured the pole position for the first time. Title contender Martin Tomczyk from Audi Sport Team Phoenix in third place achieved an excellent qualifying result as well.
On the track that with a length of 1.929 kilometers is the shortest one of the year Rockenfeller was in a class of his own in the crucial fourth qualifying segment (Q4): The 2010 Le Mans winner relegated ex-champion Gary Paffett to second place by 0.198 seconds – a world of difference at Brands Hatch.
Mike Rockenfeller was the only driver to qualify for the shoot-out for the top four grid positions with only one timed lap in Q3. "Consequently, I had the best tires in Q4,” said the Zandvoort winner. "I’m very happy about my first pole position in the DTM and am really looking forward to tomorrow’s race that with its 98 laps will be extremely tough.”
Martin Tomczyk secured position three on the grid and thus a good starting base in the duel with leader of the standings Bruno Spengler, who was moved back from sixth to eighth place on the grid after a violation of the regulations. Tomczyk missed the front row by only nine thousandths of a second after having made a tiny mistake in the first turn, the famous "Paddock Hill Bend”. "I had a bit too much understeer,” reported the runner-up in the standings. "Still, it’s been a great day for me. Especially at Brands Hatch position three is a great starting base.”
Nürburgring winner Mattias Ekström barely missed the top four. The Swede will start into the race on Sunday from position five. With Miguel Molina and Edoardo Mortara (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) on grid positions seven and nine, a total of five Audi A4 DTM cars will be starting from the first five rows – and all of them in succession on the same side of the track.
Timo Scheider and Oliver Jarvis took grid positions twelve and 14. Rahel Frey achieved 15th place, marking the best qualifying result so far in her still young DTM career. The Swiss had already attracted attention in the morning’s free practice by setting fast times. Filipe Albuquerque, who slipped in the "Druids” hairpin and caused the first qualifying segment to be stopped, was not entered on the timesheets and will start from the last position on the grid.
"We’ve seen a very good overall performance by our teams and drivers today,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "If you want to be in front at Brands Hatch you’ve got to really get everything right. ‘Rocky’ managed to do that, which makes me particularly happy in view of his heavy accident at Le Mans. Martin’s (Tomczyk) performance was very good too.”
Audi has won four of the six races held in the 2011 DTM season so far. For the third time this year and for the 61st in total an Audi A4 DTM is on the top grid position. For race day changeable weather has been predicted at Brands Hatch.