We posted our thoughts a bit earlier on qualifying. It was great for Tomczyk and I am so stocked that he won pole! As for the rest of the crew, snore.. this wasn’t the race to qualify way back in the pack! Overall though, this weekend could be very rewarding for Audi!
If your awake, stop by for live race updates!
Highs and lows were closely together in qualifying for the ninth DTM season round: with his Audi A4 DTM, Martin Tomczyk will be starting from pole position on Sunday (ARD live from 13.45 h onwards) while points leader Mattias Ekström is only tenth on the grid. Two times’ Formula 1 world champion Mika Häkkinen (Mercedes-Benz) will be lining up alongside Tomczyk on the front row. With his AMG Mercedes C-Class, Bruno Spengler kept his hopes for a good race result and thus for the title alive by qualifying third.
Runner-up in the points’ standings, Martin Tomczyk got himself an excellent position for the race. On a track that dried out, the Bavarian driver set a lap time of 1.18.689 minutes, which made him fastest in the decisive qualifying heat at the 2.977 kilometres long track. “This was a perfect qualifying for me. Today, everything was spot-on here”, the delighted 25-year old said. The Circuit de Catalunya seems to suit Tomczyk as he already claimed pole position at the track near Barcelona last year and then went on to take his maiden DTM victory.
In the race, Tomczyk will probably not be able to expect a lot of support from his fellow Audi drivers as there are five Mercedes-Benz drivers lining up behind him on the grid. Mika Häkkinen qualified second with his AMG Mercedes C-Class, 0.179 seconds down. Like in the current points’ standings, Bruno Spengler occupied third place. He is followed by defending champion Bernd Schneider, Jamie Green and Gary Paffett, who is the best-placed driver with a year-old car in sixth. Timo Scheider qualified seventh as the second best Audi driver in qualifying for the penultimate round of the season. Eighth place went to Alexandros Margaritis with his 2006-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class.
For the DTM points leader, Mattias Ekström, qualifying didn’t go as planned. The Swede was only tenth with his Audi A4 DTM behind his fellow-Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller with his year-old car. Like in the last round at the Nürburgring, Ekström failed to make it into the final qualifying heat. There, Ekström still made it up to third in the race.
With twenty points still at stake, Ekström and Audi can already secure themselves the DTM title on Sunday. The points leader has a margin of four points over Martin Tomczyk and ten points over Bruno Spengler.
The ARD is broadcasting live from Barcelona from 13.45 h onwards. The ninth DTM round is covering a distance of 172.085 kilometres.
Martin Tomczyk (1st grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “This was a perfect qualifying for me. Today, everything was spot-on here. Today, it was mainly about getting the best possible lap with the right tyre temperature at the right time. In the third session, this was only possible in the beginning, as the track dried out more and more towards the end and the time had come where it would almost have been possible to switch to slicks.”
Audi motorsport director Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “Of course, I am happy that Martin Tomczyk succeeded in claiming pole like last year. Apparently, the Circuit de Catalunya really suits him and everything was okay. It is not quite easy to understand why things didn’t go that well for the others, but I am sure that they all did their best. It seems that Mattias Ekström prefers tenth place on the grid when battling for the title. I do not really understand this strategy, but surely, he will be able to explain it to me afterwards. Mercedes-Benz has shown a strong team performance. Tomorrow, it will be difficult, but we will be giving everything to get the maximum out of this qualifying result.”