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DTM NEWS 

Audi dominates Friday practice

Mattias Ekstrom, Audi, Brands HatchMattias Ekstrom led an Audi lockout of the top five places in the first DTM free practice session of the weekend at Brands Hatch.

Ekstrom, who is Audi's highest-placed driver in the championship heading into this weekend, edged reigning champion Timo Scheider by just 0.061 seconds.

The two Abt Sportsline drivers moved to the top of the timesheets during a flurry of activity in the middle of the session, with most of the headline times coming from Audis.

The manufacturer will be keen to reverse its recent poor form in relation to Mercedes this weekend, which might explain the bigger push from A4 drivers in comparison to their C-class rivals. Ekstrom also completed the most laps of anyone in the 90-minute session.

The 2008-spec Audis of Miguel Molina, Alexandre Premat and Markus Winkelhock completed the top five. Molina and Premat were the only drivers to make a significant improvement in the final few moments of the session, as most of the field refrained from pushing any harder at the end.

Gary Paffett was the top Mercedes runner in sixth. The HWA Mercedes team had a solid day, with Paul di Resta (seventh) and championship leader Bruno Spengler (ninth) close to Paffett's time.

Spengler was sandwiched by two more Audis, as Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller also made the top 10.

As expected, it was a difficult start to the weekend for those in 2008-spec Mercedes. Susie Stoddart was the fastest of the older Mercedes in 11th, while the other four drivers in the same cars filled places 14-17.

Pos  Driver             Car       Time     Gap
 1.  Mattias Ekstrom    Audi      42.019s
 2.  Timo Scheider      Audi      42.080s  + 0.061s
 3.  Miguel Molina      Audi      42.153s  + 0.134s
 4.  Alexandre Premat   Audi      42.158s  + 0.139s
 5.  Markus Winkelhock  Audi      42.196s  + 0.177s
 6.  Gary Paffett       Mercedes  42.217s  + 0.198s
 7.  Paul di Resta      Mercedes  42.268s  + 0.249s
 8.  Oliver Jarvis      Audi      42.306s  + 0.287s
 9.  Bruno Spengler     Mercedes  42.318s  + 0.299s
10.  Mike Rockenfeller  Audi      42.339s  + 0.320s
11.  Susie Stoddart     Mercedes  42.414s  + 0.395s
12.  Martin Tomczyk     Audi      42.442s  + 0.423s
13.  Ralf Schumacher    Mercedes  42.446s  + 0.427s
14.  Jamie Green        Mercedes  42.489s  + 0.470s
15.  Maro Engel         Mercedes  42.525s  + 0.506s
16.  David Coulthard    Mercedes  42.650s  + 0.631s
17.  Cong Fu Cheng      Mercedes  42.723s  + 0.704s
18.  Katherine Legge    Audi      42.724s  + 0.705s
Daytona Competition
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