Gary Paffett grabs home DTM pole at Brands Hatch
|By Jamie O'Leary||Saturday, May 19th 2012, 12:55 GMT|
Gary Paffett took his first DTM pole position for almost two years at Brands Hatch to head an all-Mercedes front row.
The British driver's single-lap Q4 time of 41.266 seconds was enough to put him on provisional pole with only Q3 pacesetter Mike Rockenfeller to come. And when the German could only lap in 41.484s, Paffett's eighth career pole - and his first on home soil - was assured.
Christian Vietoris took a career-best second place on the grid, 0.144s slower than his HWA team-mate Paffett and just 0.052s clear of Schnitzer BMW's Bruno Spengler, who put two wheels in the gravel at Paddock Hill bend on his way to third.
Rockenfeller's fourth place meant that the Phoenix Audi driver maintained his status as the only driver to start inside the top five in every race this year.
Practice pacesetter Martin Tomczyk set an identical time to Vietoris in Q3, but remained fifth by virtue of having achieved it after the HWA man. He will start alongside Filipe Albuquerque, who took his best grid spot of the year in his Rosberg Audi.
Adrien Tambay was surprisingly the best of the Abt Audi drivers in a career-best seventh spot while his team-mate Mattias Ekstrom, RBM BMW man Augusto Farfus and HWA Mercedes driver Jamie Green completed the top 10.
Timo Scheider failed to make Q3 for the second event in a row, the Abt Audi man going off at Surtees and bouncing across the grass before rejoining moments later. He will start 15th.
Among the others knocked out in Q2 were Andy Priaulx - 14th in his RBM BMW - and Rosberg Audi driver Edoraro Mortara, who lost his Q3 place to Tambay by just 0.05s after the chequered flag had come out.
David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher were the highest-profile drivers to be eliminated from Q1. While Coulthard never featured inside the top-16 progression zone, Schumacher was dropped outside it thanks to quick laps from Priaulx and Vietoris late on.
Despite improving his time on his final lap, the six-time grand prix winner could not improve on 18th spot in his HWA car. Coulthard will start two places further back with Susie Wolff's Persson Mercedes next up.
Coulthard's Mucke Mercedes team-mate Robert Wickens was the best-placed driver to fail to make it into Q2, the Canadian agonisingly missing out by just 0.002s in a session where a little over 0.4s separated the top 21 cars.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 41.266s 2. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes 41.410s + 0.144s 3. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW 41.462s + 0.196s 4. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi 41.484s + 0.218s 5. Martin Tomczyk RMG BMW 41.101s Q3 6. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 41.142s Q3 7. Adrien Tambay Abt Audi 41.156s Q3 8. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 41.163s Q3 9. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW 41.172s Q3 10. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes 41.284s Q3 11. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 41.381s Q2 12. Miguel Molina Phoenix Audi 41.392s Q2 13. Joey Hand RMG BMW 41.399s Q2 14. Andy Priaulx RBM BMW 41.403s Q2 15. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 41.479s Q2 16. Roberto Merhi Persson Mercedes 41.524s Q2 17. Robert Wickens Mucke Mercedes 41.584s Q1 18. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 41.587s Q1 19. Dirk Werner Schnitzer BMW 41.655s Q1 20. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes 41.657s Q1 21. Susie Wolff Persson Mercedes 41.677s Q1 22. Rahel Frey Abt Audi 41.956s Q1