Mattias Ekstrom claimed pole position for the opening round of the 2012 DTM with a storming lap at Hockenheim, while BMW's Dirk Werner caused a shock by making it onto the second row.
Ekstrom produced a controlled lap of 1m34.680s in Q4 while the other three drivers that made it into the final part of qualifying all made mistakes that cost them a shot at pole.
HWA Mercedes driver Jamie Green had been fastest in Q3 and therefore was the last to take to the track in Q4, but locked his brakes up at Turn 2, missing the apex. Althogh he recovered some of the lost time in the remainder of the lap, he wound up 0.215 seconds adrift of Abt Audi driver Ekstrom, who claimed his 20th DTM pole.
Schnitzer driver Werner ran wide at the Spitzkehre on his Q4 lap, but was still able to take third on the grid on BMW's series return, ahead of Edoardo Mortara, who ran wide at the Nordkurve in his Rosberg Audi.
Following the session, both Werner and Mortara had their Q4 times taken away after the BMW left the pitlane while the red light was still on and the Audi man had his wide moment judged to have been 'exceeding the track limits' by race officials. As Werner had been faster in Q3, these penalties had no effect on either man's grid position.
Mike Rockenfeller was the first driver to post a time in Q3, but the Phoenix Audi returnee saw his name tumble down the timesheets as the 10 minutes drew by. His time put him fifth on the grid, ahead of HWA's Gary Paffett, the RBM BMW of impressive rookie Andy Priaulx and Timo Scheider's Abt Audi.
Bruno Spengler, who set the pace in Q2, will start ninth in his Schnitzer BMW, ahead of defending champion Martin Tomczyk's RMG-run example.
Ralf Schumacher was the biggest casualty of Q2, the HWA Mercedes driver being knocked out of the crucial 10th spot by Priaulx after the chequered flag had come out. One place behind him was Abt's Adrien Tambay, who impressively outqualified his Audi stablemates Filipe Albuquerque (Rosberg) and Miguel Molina (Phoenix) on his series debut.
The main moment of drama in Q1 came in the dying seconds when RMG BMW driver Joey Hand, at that point 19th and heading out of the session, leapt up to seventh on his final lap, knocking out Molina. Hand eventually qualified 16th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1m34.680s 2. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes 1m34.895s + 0.215s 3. Dirk Werner Schnitzer BMW No time 4. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi No time 5. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi 1m34.264s Q3 6. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 1m34.287s Q3 7. Andy Priaulx RBM BMW 1m34.299s Q3 8. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 1m34.389s Q3 9. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW 1m34.512s Q3 10. Martin Tomczyk RMG BMW 1m34.819s Q3 11. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 1m34.390s Q2 12. Adrien Tambay Abt Audi 1m34.509s Q2 13. Robert Wickens Persson Mercedes 1m34.538s Q2 14. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 1m34.555s Q2 15. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes 1m34.783s Q2 16. Joey Hand RMG BMW 1m35.140s Q2 17. Miguel Molina Phoenix Audi 1m34.926s Q1 18. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes 1m34.932s Q1 19. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW 1m35.104s Q1 20. Roberto Merhi Persson Mercedes 1m35.167s Q1 21. Susie Wolff Mucke Mercedes 1m35.776s Q1 22. Rahel Frey Abt Audi 1m36.012s Q1