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Spengler tops Hockenheim practice

Bruno Spengler, Mercedes, Hockenheim 2010DTM 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
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Di Resta wins and takes points lead
Scheider on pole at wet Hockenheim
Rockenfeller tops wet practice