Jamie Green has blamed qualifying difficulties for a "painful" DTM season in which "nothing has gone his way", having expected Audi to perform better in 2018.
DTM scrapped its performance weight system for the final two rounds of last year and it resulted in dominant Audi form as its driver Rene Rast won the title and the marque locked out the top four positions in the championship.
But new-for-2018 regulations resulted in downforce levels being reduced by approximately 30% and Audi feared that it would hurt its aerodynamic advantage.
Those fears proved accurate as, with four rounds remaining, it currently trails BMW by 201 points with Mercedes leading the way a further 273 ahead.
Green finished third last season but currently languishes 18th in the standings with only three points finishes. He blamed the downturn on qualifying struggles.
He told Autosport "I feel like we're making some progress but I've still not had a good qualifying session all season."
After yellow flags "really screwed" his qualifying run at Brands Hatch, he added: "That's just the story of my year so far, nothing's really going my way.
"I've been 17th quite a lot this year in qualifying which is pretty painful, to be honest. It's difficult but I was optimistic we might be a bit stronger this year."
Audi Motorsport boss Dieter Gass added that the lack of pace in qualifying was exaggerated by Audi's strong performance in free practice.
"Let's say the opposition tends to have a more conservative approach in free practice while we are aggressive and trying to go a bit more to the limit already in free practice," he said.
"This is why normally we tend to be better in free practice than qualifying.
"[At Brands Hatch] nobody could do that because it was new for everybody, everybody had to check their limits, so the free practice sessions yesterday should have been more representative for what they expect in qualifying.
"Effectively, we did expect to be a bit better in qualifying. At the end of the day, that didn't happen partly because of the yellow flag and partly because of mistakes on the drivers' fastest laps."