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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