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Ralf Schumacher fastest in second DTM practice at Brands Hatch

Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes DTM Brands Hatch 2011

Ralf Schumacher set the pace in an ultra-close final DTM practice session at Brands Hatch.

The German, who completed 40 laps during the session, hit the front at the one-hour mark with a lap in 42.185s, but was gradually knocked back to sixth as his HWA Mercedes team-mates took the top spot away from each other on successive laps.

However, the multiple grand prix winner still had something left in reserve and lapped in 41.948s with three minutes remaining, which was enough to put him on top for good.

Mercedes drivers had a small, but decisive edge in the session with Britain's Gary Paffett and Jamie Green both spending time on top and eventually coming second and third, just 0.009 and 0.013s adrift of their fellow HWA driver's benchmark time.

Mike Rockenfeller was the best-placed of the Audi drivers, the Abt man fourth with Filipe Albuquerque right behind him - and less than 0.1s off the pace - in his older-spec Rosberg A4.

Phoenix driver Martin Tomczyk - Audi's best-placed driver in the championship - was shuffled back from second to sixth in the dying minutes with series leader Bruno Spengler's HWA machine next up.

Spengler nearly made contact with his team-mate Green in the pitlane early on; the HWA team releasing him out of his garage and into the 'fast' lane just as Green was passing by. The latter had to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision.

Christian Vietoris' Persson Mercedes and the Abt Audis of Friday pace-setter Miguel Molina and Timo Scheider completed the top 10. Scheider survived a late trip through the gravel at Paddock and recovered to the circuit with only minimal damage to his car.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car          Time     Gap
 1.  Ralf Schumacher       HWA Mercedes      41.948s
 2.  Gary Paffett          HWA Mercedes      41.957s  + 0.009s
 3.  Jamie Green           HWA Mercedes      41.961s  + 0.013s
 4.  Mike Rockenfeller     Abt Audi          41.963s  + 0.015s
 5.  Filipe Albuquerque    Rosberg Audi      42.034s  + 0.086s
 6.  Martin Tomczyk        Phoenix Audi      42.085s  + 0.137s
 7.  Bruno Spengler        HWA Mercedes      42.091s  + 0.143s
 8.  Christian Vietoris    Persson Mercedes  42.111s  + 0.163s
 9.  Miguel Molina         Abt Audi          42.123s  + 0.175s
10.  Timo Scheider         Abt Audi          42.143s  + 0.195s
11.  David Coulthard       Mucke Mercedes    42.157s  + 0.209s
12.  Edoardo Mortara       Rosberg Audi      42.185s  + 0.237s
13.  Maro Engel            Mucke Mercedes    42.231s  + 0.283s
14.  Mattias Ekstrom       Abt Audi          42.236s  + 0.288s
15.  Oliver Jarvis         Abt Audi          42.253s  + 0.305s
16.  Renger van der Zande  Persson Mercedes  42.331s  + 0.383s
17.  Rahel Frey            Phoenix Audi      42.494s  + 0.546s
18.  Susie Stoddart        Persson Mercedes  42.649s  + 0.701s
Daytona Competition
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