Spengler tops Hockenheim practice
|By Glenn Freeman||Friday, October 15th 2010, 14:49 GMT|
DTM championship leader Bruno Spengler set the pace in the first free practice session of the weekend at Hockenheim on Friday afternoon.
The Canadian, who leads the standings by seven points from his HWA-Mercedes team-mate Paul di Resta, moved from the bottom end of the timesheets to top spot with just 10 minutes remaining of the 90-minute session.
That pushed title outsider Gary Paffett down to second, where he would remain until the end just ahead of the impressive Maro Engel in third in his 2008-spec Mercedes.
Engel had briefly grabbed top spot towards the end of a long spell of domination for the older cars. Initially Alexandre Premat and Mike Rockenfeller had set the pace in their '08 Audis, but the pair had to settle for completing the top five.
While Spengler and Paffett finished the day at the head of the times, di Resta never really featured at the front.
The Scot, who has made up ground on Spengler in the title race by winning the last two races, got himself up to seventh, as he and Jamie Green (sixth) made gains towards the end of the session.
None of the 2009-spec Audi drivers, who were troubled by severe tyre problems at the season opener here in May, made it into the top 10 on their return to Hockenheim.
Oliver Jarvis and Mattias Ekstrom were the best-placed of the four cars in 11th and 12th. Ekstrom still has a mathematical chance of the title, but he has already written off his chances of making up a 26-point gap in three races.
Martin Tomczyk, who lost the lead here in May with a spectacular puncture, was only 14th in the next best Abt Sportsline Audi, while two-time champion Timo Scheider was 16th.
This was the first timed session to be held on the new shortened Hockenheim layout, which doesn't include the Spitzkehre Hairpin at the end of the back straight. Spengler's best time of 1m20.623s was around 12 seconds faster than the quickest times set in qualifying on the longer track earlier this year.
Pos Driver Car Time Laps 1. Bruno Spengler Mercedes 1m20.623s 31 2. Gary Paffett Mercedes 1m20.645s + 0.022s 37 3. Maro Engel Mercedes 1m20.741s + 0.118s 27 4. Alexandre Premat Audi 1m20.821s + 0.198s 34 5. Mike Rockenfeller Audi 1m20.862s + 0.239s 40 6. Jamie Green Mercedes 1m20.879s + 0.256s 33 7. Paul di Resta Mercedes 1m20.983s + 0.360s 26 8. Miguel Molina Audi 1m21.037s + 0.414s 41 9. Ralf Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.058s + 0.435s 29 10. David Coulthard Mercedes 1m21.073s + 0.450s 32 11. Oliver Jarvis Audi 1m21.138s + 0.515s 45 12. Mattias Ekstrom Audi 1m21.146s + 0.523s 44 13. Markus Winkelhock Audi 1m21.209s + 0.586s 40 14. Martin Tomczyk Audi 1m21.379s + 0.756s 38 15. Susie Stoddart Mercedes 1m21.507s + 0.884s 40 16. Timo Scheider Audi 1m21.551s + 0.928s 31 17. Cong Fu Cheng Mercedes 1m21.671s + 1.048s 35 18. Katherine Legge Audi 1m22.231s + 1.608s 43