Audi driver Rast takes Moscow DTM pole after penalty for Wittmann

Reigning DTM champion Marco Wittmann topped the Saturday qualifying session at Moscow Raceway, but his five-place grid penalty meant rookie Rene Rast claimed pole position

Audi driver Rast takes Moscow DTM pole after penalty for Wittmann

BMW driver Wittmann, who sits 10th in the DTM standings and is yet to win a race this year, has two Moscow Raceway poles to his name and was again the standout performer.

But a five-place grid penalty, after Wittmann had picked up his third reprimand of the season at the Norisring, gave Audi driver Rast pole instead.

Rast, who had set the best lap in practice earlier on Saturday, was the first driver to surpass that benchmark with his 1m27.179s effort representing an improvement of more than four tenths.

Championship leader Mattias Ekstrom made it an Audi 1-2 shortly thereafter, but the pair were then split by BMW duo Augusto Farfus and Timo Glock.

And at the halfway point in the session, it was the Bavarian marque that held the top spot, courtesy of Wittmann.

Nobody came particularly close to matching the leading duo in the second half of the session.

With Wittmann's penalty dropping him to sixth, Rast will be joined on the front row by fellow Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller, whose full participation this weekend was in doubt after he sustained a fracture in his left foot in the heavy crash with Gary Paffett at Norisring.

Rockenfeller could be seen limping around the paddock and using crutches, with McLaren F1 junior Nyck de Vries having been called up to be on stand-by, but the German had recovered enough to compete - and finished the session just two tenths off Wittmann.

Farfus and Glock will be on row two for BMW, ahead of Ekstrom, Wittmann, Jamie Green and Tom Blomqvist.

Mercedes' top driver Gary Paffett led Audi's Loic Duval in ninth, as the Silver Arrows endured a torrid qualifying session, its C63 DTM currently heaviest on the grid due to performance weights.

But Duval will have to start 15th as he, like Wittmann, is serving a five-place grid penalty for having accumulated three warnings.

Among the Mercedes roster, Lucas Auer - who is just two points off Ekstrom in the standings - was only 13th, while Edoardo Mortara ended his session with an off, placing 17th.

QUALIFYING RESULT

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Marco Wittmann RMG BMW 1m27.035s
2 Rene Rast Rosberg Audi 0.120s
3 Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 0.218s
4 Augusto Farfus RMG BMW 0.305s
5 Timo Glock RMR BMW 0.341s
6 Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 0.358s
7 Jamie Green Rosberg Audi 0.415s
8 Tom Blomqvist RMR BMW 0.432s
9 Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 0.503s
10 Loic Duval Phoenix Audi 0.506s
11 Bruno Spengler RBM BMW 0.577s
12 Robert Wickens HWA Mercedes 0.590s
13 Nico Muller Abt Audi 0.699s
14 Lucas Auer HWA Mercedes 0.722s
15 Maxime Martin RBM BMW 0.751s
16 Paul Di Resta HWA Mercedes 1.022s
17 Edoardo Mortara HWA Mercedes 1.099s
18 Maro Engel HWA Mercedes 1.347s

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