Mike Rockenfeller takes maiden DTM pole position at Brands Hatch
|By Jamie O'Leary||Saturday, September 3rd 2011, 14:26 GMT|
Mike Rockenfeller claimed his maiden DTM pole position on a scorching hot afternoon at Brands Hatch.
The Abt Audi driver, who only returned to the series two races ago after his terrifying Le Mans crash, was the fastest driver in the one-lap, Q4 shoot-out to take the top spot at the 48th time of trying.
After going third quickest in Q3, Rockenfeller was the second driver to attempt his Q4 lap, and knocked the HWA Mercedes of Gary Paffett off pole by 0.198 seconds with a lap of 42.090s.
Neither Paffett's team-mate Jamie Green - quickest in Q3 - nor Phoenix Audi driver Martin Tomczyk, who followed, were able to beat Rockenfeller's time and had to settle for fourth and third spots behind Paffett.
The fastest driver of all during qualifying was Ralf Schumacher, but the grand prix winner's 41.917s lap in Q2 meant nothing as he was unable to bring his HWA car higher than seventh in Q3.
Mattias Ekstrom will start fifth after missing out on Q4; this despite being just 0.080s off the pace during Q3. Bruno Spengler was next up, ahead of his team-mate Schumacher and Miguel Molina's old-spec Abt machine.
Schumacher and Molina, however, will be promoted to sixth and seventh once Spengler's two-place grid penalty for a tyre infringement in practice is applied.
The red flags came out early on when Filipe Albuquerque went off at Druids and hit the tyre barrier. As a result Q1 was cancelled with its remaining nine minutes added to an extended Q2 into which the 17 other cars progressed.
The unexpectedly high number of cars in Q2 made finding a gap in which to set a quick time hard to come by on the 1.2-mile Indy circuit.
The big casualty was Abt driver Timo Scheider, who could only manage the 12th best time, while Edoardo Mortara - who spun at Clark Curve - was another to fail to progress. Illustrating just how close the competition was, the Rosberg Audi driver was just 0.153s off Schumacher's pace-setting lap and yet was still eliminated in ninth. Maro Engel completed the top 10 in his Mucke Mercedes.
Further back there was an impressive showing from Phoenix Audi driver Rahel Frey, who will start 15th after outqualifying the Mucke and Persson Mercedes of David Coulthard and Susie Stoddart.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi 42.090s 2. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 42.288s + 0.198s 3. Martin Tomczyk Phoenix Audi 42.297s + 0.207s 4. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes 42.345s + 0.255s 5. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 42.039s (Q3) 6. Bruno Spengler HWA Mercedes 42.068s (Q3) 7. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 42.080s (Q3) 8. Miguel Molina Abt Audi 42.121s (Q3) 9. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 42.070s (Q2) 10. Maro Engel Mucke Mercedes 42.090s (Q2) 11. Christian Vietoris Persson Mercedes 42.093s (Q2) 12. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 42.103s (Q2) 13. Renger van der Zande Persson Mercedes 42.223s (Q2) 14. Oliver Jarvis Abt Audi 42.263s (Q2) 15. Rahel Frey Phoenix Audi 42.275s (Q2) 16. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes 42.320s (Q2) 17. Susie Stoddart Persson Mercedes 42.554s (Q2) 18. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 42.510s (Q1)