DTM: Pole for Ekström as BMW qualify in the Top-3 in DTM comeback

dtm-hockenheim-quali

The 2012 DTM championship is underway, and after plenty of pre-season speculation we can now judge the performance of each of the three premium manufacturers – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The traditional season opener at Hockenheimring provided the perfect backdrop for the first real test of strength, with each manufacturer securing a qualifying position in the Top-3.

Mattias Ekström in the new Audi A5 DTM, nosed in front to secure pole position for Sunday’s race. Ekström lapped the 4.574-km circuit in 1:34.680 minutes, pushing Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green down to 2nd place.

BMW celebrated a great comeback to DTM after a 20-year absence, with Dirk Werner landing third on the grid in his BMW M3 DTM.

Double DTM champion Ekström will start from his 19th pole position in DTM and was delighted to start the season where he left off at the end of 2011:

“A pole for the start of the season is the best thing that could happen to us. It’s like in school: You learn to do your homework and now you see the result.

“Although there are no points for the pole, it’s definitely the shortest path to finish from in the race”, said Eki.

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Runner-up Jamie Green was equally pleased with his start to the new season, “We worked a lot in the winter and now we know where we stand. We are well on our way. You could see that it is very close between the three manufacturers and they all get to start at the front.”

Third place Dirk Werner was enthusiastic about BMW’s return to the DTM series, “This is a crazy result. I never thought that I can do it in the final qualifying round. We already had a good feeling, but it makes it even more beautiful to do so good,” said the delighted BMW driver.

Two Audi drivers, the Italian Edoardo Mortara and Mike Rockenfeller, are in fourth and fifth in the race, whilst Brit Gary Paffett was 6th in his DTM Mercedes AMG C Coupé.

A further six pilots celebrated their DTM debut at Hockenheim. Andy Priaulx (BMW) finished the qualifying session in 7th place, whilst Adrien Tambay (Audi) qualified in 12th. Canadian Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) was 13th quickest, whilst Joey Hand (BMW) from the USA qualified in 16th.

Augusto Farfus (BMW) starts tomorrow’s race in 19th position, whilst Spaniard Roberto Merhi (Mercedes-Benz) will start from 20th.

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FIA president Jean Todt spoke about the “new DTM”, saying “The cars are very interesting. I have seen many things you can learn from. The DTM is a good mix of young drivers and experienced pilots, many of whom come from Formula 1.”

The 40-lap race around Hockenheimring begins tomorrow at 14:00 CET, with all 182.960 kilometres broadcast live on German channel ARD. If you’re a UK viewer and would like to know how to catch the action, take a look at our 2012 DTM TV Guide.

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Qualifying Positions

Position   Lap Time
1. Mattias Ekström
ABT Sportsline
Red Bull Audi A5 DTM
1:34.680 
2. Jamie Green
HWA
Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
1:34.895 
3. Dirk Werner
BMW Team Schnitzer
E-POSTBRIEF BMW M3 DTM
1:36.276 
4. Edoardo Mortara
Team Rosberg
Playboy Audi A5 DTM
 
5. Mike Rockenfeller
Phoenix Racing
Schaeffler Audi A5 DTM
1:34.264 
6. Gary Paffett
HWA
Thomas Sabo Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
1:34.287 
7. Andy Priaulx
BMW Team RBM
Crowne Plaza Hotels BMW M3 DTM
1:34.299 
8. Timo Scheider
ABT Sportsline
AUTO TEST Audi A5 DTM
1:34.389 
9. Bruno Spengler
BMW Team Schnitzer
BMW Bank M3 DTM
1:34.512 
10. Martin Tomczyk
BMW Team RMG
BMW M Performance Zubehör M3 DTM
1:34.819 
11. Ralf Schumacher
HWA
Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
1:34.390 
12. Adrien Tambay
Audi Sport Team Abt
Audi ultra A5 DTM
1:34.509 
13. Robert Wickens
Mücke Motorsport
stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
1:34.538 
14. Filipe Albuquerque
Team Rosberg
TV Movie Audi A5 DTM
1:34.555 
15. Christian Vietoris
HWA
Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé
1:34.783 
16. Joey Hand
BMW Team RMG
SAMSUNG BMW M3 DTM
1:35.140 
17. Miguel Molina
Phoenix Racing
Red Bull Audi A5 DTM
1:34.926 
18. David Coulthard
Mücke Motorsport
DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
1:34.932 
19. Augusto Farfus
BMW Team RBM
Castrol EDGE BMW M3 DTM
1:35.104 
20. Roberto Merhi
Persson Motorsport
Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
1:35.167 
21. Susie Wolff
Persson Motorsport
TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé
1:35.776 
22. Rahel Frey
Audi Sport Team Abt
E-POSTBRIEF Audi A5 DTM
1:36.012