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Hockenheim DTM: Bruno Spengler dominates first practice

Bruno Spengler, Schnitzer BMW, Hockenheim DTM 2012Bruno Spengler topped the opening free practice session for the DTM finale at Hockenheim on Friday while championship leader Gary Paffett was back in 16th.

Schnitzer BMW driver Spengler's best lap of 1m34.971s came late in the 90-minute session, and left him a huge 0.805 seconds clear of the similar RMG-run M3 of Martin Tomczyk.

In an unusually spread-out session, only the Audis of Phoenix driver Mike Rockenfeller and Abt's Mattias Ekstrom, and Augusto Farfus's RBM BMW lapped within a second of Spengler's marker.

Audis and BMWs made up the remainder of the top 10 with Filipe Albuquerque, Miguel Molina and Andy Priaulx ahead of Edoardo Mortara and Timo Scheider.

Mercedes drivers did not feature near the front during Friday's running. Paffett - who leads Spengler by only three points in the standings - was 16th and 1.7s off the pace.

Paffett's HWA team-mate Jamie Green, who trails his countryman by 18 points with just Sunday's race remaining, was a spot further back in 17th.

The session featured only a few minor incidents. Adrien Tambay was launched into the air after 30 minutes; the Frenchman running too wide out while exiting the Mercedes Arena and hitting a 'sausage kerb' hard in his Abt Audi.

Tambay later slid off at the Spitzkehre without hitting anything while Mercedes drivers Ralf Schumacher and Robert Wickens both outbraked themselves at the Sachs Kurve and put two wheels just off the circuit mid-corner.

Pos  Driver              Team/Car          Time       Gap
 1.  Bruno Spengler      Schnitzer BMW     1m34.971s
 2.  Martin Tomczyk      RMG BMW           1m35.776s  + 0.805s
 3.  Mike Rockenfeller   Phoenix Audi      1m35.785s  + 0.814s
 4.  Mattias Ekstrom     Abt Audi          1m35.892s  + 0.921s
 5.  Augusto Farfus      RBM BMW           1m35.967s  + 0.996s
 6.  Dirk Werner         Schnitzer BMW     1m35.993s  + 1.022s
 7.  Filipe Albuquerque  Rosberg Audi      1m36.039s  + 1.068s
 8.  Miguel Molina       Phoenix Audi      1m36.117s  + 1.146s
 9.  Andy Priaulx        RBM BMW           1m36.157s  + 1.186s
10.  Edoardo Mortara     Rosberg Audi      1m36.239s  + 1.268s
11.  Timo Scheider       Abt Audi          1m36.284s  + 1.313s
12.  Joey Hand           RMG BMW           1m36.350s  + 1.379s
13.  David Coulthard     Mucke Mercedes    1m36.356s  + 1.385s
14.  Christian Vietoris  HWA Mercedes      1m36.367s  + 1.396s
15.  Robert Wickens      Mucke Mercedes    1m36.627s  + 1.656s
16.  Gary Paffett        HWA Mercedes      1m36.649s  + 1.678s
17.  Jamie Green         HWA Mercedes      1m36.667s  + 1.696s
18.  Adrien Tambay       Abt Audi          1m36.713s  + 1.742s
19.  Rahel Frey          Abt Audi          1m36.720s  + 1.749s
20.  Roberto Merhi       Persson Mercedes  1m36.748s  + 1.777s
21.  Susie Wolff         Persson Mercedes  1m36.912s  + 1.941s
22.  Ralf Schumacher     HWA Mercedes      1m36.957s  + 1.986s
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