Paffett Heads Mercedes 1-2 Grid

DTM points leader Gary Paffett scorched to pole position for Sunday's seventh round of the touring car series at the Nurburgring in Germany, as Mercedes-Benz bounced back from a difficult start to the weekend to lock out the front row with double Formula One World Champion Mika Hakkinen, who will start alongside the Briton

Paffett Heads Mercedes 1-2 Grid

The Audis of Mattias Ekstrom and Tom Kristensen set the pace in the 30-minute pre-qualifying session, but Mercedes leapt to the fore in the single-lap Super Pole. Hakkinen was first on track, after managing only the 10th fastest time in pre-qualifying, but his 1:23.415s effort stood as the top time until Paffett, who ran seventh, beat it by quarter of a second.

"The first qualifying was not great, so I'm really happy to take pole position," said Paffett. "I did pretty much the same lap time, and expected the Audis to go quicker, but they didn't. We've worked hard on the car, because it wasn't very quick yesterday, so I have to say a big thank you to the team."

Hakkinen said: "I made some small changes to the car after the first qualifying which helped me to perform. In general I was not very happy, my lap could have been better, especially in the third sector."

Ekstrom, who ran last, could only manage third, while Kristensen slumped to sixth, behind Bernd Schneider (Mercedes) and the leading Opel of Laurent Aiello.

"We just didn't manage to do the lap time we wanted to in Super Pole," said Ekstrom. Okay I'm third, but we should be higher up as a team."

Audis populated the bottom half of the top 10, with Martin Tomczyk seventh ahead of Allan McNish and Christian Abt. Opel's Heinz-Harald Frentzen was slowest in Super Pole and will start from 10th.

Super Pole results:

Pos  Driver           Team              Time
 1.  Gary Paffett     AMG-Mercedes      1:23.161
 2.  Mika Hakkinen    AMG-Mercedes      1:23.415 + 0.254
 3.  Mattias Ekstrom  Audi Sport        1:23.516 + 0.355
 4.  Bernd Schneider  AMG-Mercedes      1:23.598 + 0.437
 5.  Laurent Aiello   Team OPC          1:23.611 + 0.450
 6.  Tom Kristensen   Audi Sport        1:23.653 + 0.492
 7.  Martin Tomczyk   Audi Sport        1:23.676 + 0.515
 8.  Allan McNish     Audi Sport        1:23.789 + 0.628
 9.  Christian Abt    Audi Sport        1:23.813 + 0.652
10.  H.H. Frentzen    Stern Team OPC    1:23.850 + 0.689

Qualifying results:

Pos  Driver           Team              Time
 1.  Mattias Ekstrom  Audi Sport        1:22.793
 2.  Tom Kristensen   Audi Sport        1:22.900 + 0.107
 3.  Christian Abt    Audi Sport        1:23.035 + 0.242
 4.  Gary Paffett     AMG-Mercedes      1:23.171 + 0.378
 5.  Allan McNish     Audi Sport        1:23.299 + 0.506
 6.  Martin Tomczyk   Audi Sport        1:23.398 + 0.605
 7.  Laurent Aiello   Team OPC          1:23.431 + 0.638
 8.  Bernd Schneider  AMG-Mercedes      1:23.443 + 0.650
 9.  H.H. Frentzen    Stern Team OPC    1:23.476 + 0.683
10.  Mika Hakkinen    AMG-Mercedes      1:23.545 + 0.752
11.  Jamie Green      AMG-Mercedes      1:23.601 + 0.808
12.  Marcel Fassler   GMAC Team OPC     1:23.603 + 0.810
13.  Jean Alesi       AMG-Mercedes      1:23.626 + 0.833
14.  Frank Stippler   Audi Sport        1:23.701 + 0.908
15.  Bruno Spengler   Mercedes          1:23.773 + 0.980
16.  Manuel Reuter    Team OPC          1:23.862 + 1.069
17.  Rinaldo Capello  Audi Sport        1:24.106 + 1.313
18.  Stefan Mucke     Mucke Motorsport  1:24.138 + 1.345
19.  Pierre Kaffer    Audi Sport        1:24.190 + 1.397
20.  A. Margaritis    Mucke Motorsport  1:24.308 + 1.515

Provisional grid:

Pos  Driver           Team
 1.  Gary Paffett     AMG-Mercedes
 2.  Mika Hakkinen    AMG-Mercedes
 3.  Mattias Ekstrom  Audi Sport
 4.  Bernd Schneider  AMG-Mercedes
 5.  Laurent Aiello   Team OPC
 6.  Tom Kristensen   Audi Sport
 7.  Martin Tomczyk   Audi Sport
 8.  Allan McNish     Audi Sport
 9.  Christian Abt    Audi Sport
10.  H.H. Frentzen    Stern Team OPC
11.  Jamie Green      AMG-Mercedes
12.  Marcel Fassler   GMAC Team OPC
13.  Jean Alesi       AMG-Mercedes
14.  Frank Stippler   Audi Sport
15.  Bruno Spengler   Mercedes
16.  Manuel Reuter    Team OPC
17.  Rinaldo Capello  Audi Sport
18.  Stefan Mucke     Mucke Motorsport
19.  Pierre Kaffer    Audi Sport
20.  A. Margaritis    Mucke Motorsport
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