Timo Scheider said that his DTM pole position at Zandvoort is proof of the step forward taken by Audi during the summer break.
Three A5s started in the top four positions at the Nurburgring last weekend, and the manufacturer went even further at Zandvoort by taking the first five spots on the grid.
Scheider, a two-time DTM champion for Audi, has only qualified higher than 10th at one other race this year, but took his Abt A5 to a pole lap 0.2s quicker than Mike Rockenfeller's Phoenix car.
Rosberg duo Filipe Albuquerque and Edoardo Mortara were next up, ahead of Abt's Mattias Ekstrom.
"I've had some tough weeks and months and had many things that have gone in the wrong direction for the team," he said.
"But in all that time the guys listened to my comments, worked hard together at the last races and in the test at Magny-Cours, and this is the result.
"In practice on Friday I was sceptical that we'd have the performance to beat the others, but it shows that you have to wait for qualifying.
"I saw the Q4 laps of Filipe and Edo, my engineer said that a 1m32.6s was achievable and would probably get pole. So to do a 32.3s is awesome."
Scheider's pole was the 10th of his career and turned around a disappointing run of qualifying sessions in 2012. His last pole came at Hockenheim - also the circuit in which he previously started inside the top 10 this year - late in the 2010 season.
"It's been a while since I was here on pole. 21 months being in the middle of nowhere; sometimes up, sometimes down, but then coming back to Zandvoort where I took my first pole [in an Opel in 2003] is special."