Jamie Green sealed pole position for the DTM's second Nurburgring race by 0.001 seconds ahead of Audi stablemate Rene Rast, with two points boosting his championship hopes.
Rast held the top spot after the first runs and improved his benchmark to a 1m20.033s in the final minute of the session.
But Green, who had sat fourth in the first half of the session, swiftly deposed Rast from the top for his second pole of 2019, having also scored pole for the opening Lausitzring race last month.
Green also prevented championship leader Rast from taking the full three championship points for pole position.
Rast has still scored two points and extended his championship lead to 49 points over Audi Abt driver Nico Muller, who followed a disastrous opening race with a disappointing qualifying position of 14th.
In order to seal the title one round early, Rast needs to outscore Muller by a further seven points on Sunday afternoon afternoon as a maximum of 56 points are on offer at the Hockenheim finale.
Mike Rockenfeller was another driver to improve his time late on and slotted into the middle of an all-Audi top six by placing third.
WRT Audi's Jonathan Aberdein continued his strongest DTM weekend yet by qualifying fifth, behind Robin Frijns, after finishing Saturday's race fourth.
Loic Duval completed the Audi top six, with Timo Glock placing as the best BMW driver in seventh.
The top 10 was rounded out by two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann, Saturday podium finisher Bruno Spengler and Sheldon van der Linde.
Paul di Resta was the only R-Motorsport Aston Martin driver to fail to set a time after his crew spent the majority of the session working in the engine area of his car due to an unspecified problem.
Ferdinand Habsburg was the highest-placed Aston Martin Vantage driver in 15th - behind Muller - and qualified ahead of Daniel Juncadella and Jake Dennis.