Qualifying: Fassler scoops pole

Marcel Fassler edged his HWA Mercedes team-mate Bernd Schneider by just 0.006s to take pole for the DTM's first ever DTM race at Italy's tight and twisting Adria circuit

Qualifying: Fassler scoops pole

Super Pole, where the top 10 cars from a frenetic 25-minute qualifying session run a single timed lap in reverse order, kept the excitement going until the final corner of Fassler's lap. Schneider's 1m12.179s effort had eclipsed Abt-Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom by 0.09s, but the German was made to sweat as Swiss Fassler reeled off three near-perfect sectors.

"Super Pole's very tough," said Fassler. "It's not just the driving, but having to maintain concentration before you go out and do it. Luckily I made no big mistakes."

Schneider, who'd locked up on his flying lap, added mischievously: "Marcel was better than me today. Tomorrow I hope it's him making the misstakes."

Opel's Peter Dumbreck had held an early advantage, but was eclipsed first by Christijan Albers' Merc and then Ekstrom. The Scot had survived a big moment in his final sector, but starts Sunday's race as the top Astra on the grid.

"You've got to try hard to find every single tenth in the car," said Dumbreck. "Okay, I made a couple of errors, but no way would I have beaten Marcel."

Martin Tomczyk (Audi), Alain Menu (Opel), Jo Winkelhock (Opel) and Karl Wendlinger (Audi) completed the top nine, while Mercedes' Jean Alesi was forced to sit out Super Pole after suffering gearbox problems as he crossed the line to set seventh best time in the 25-minute session.

Surprisingly absent from Super Pole was reigning DTM champ Laurent Aiello, whose Audi has been mysteriously off the pace all weekend.

"What can I say?" shrugged team boss Hans-Jurgen Abt. "He's had a problem all weekend, and when the car's not fast enough that's the result." The Frenchman starts 11th in Sunday's race.

Marcel Fassler Mercedes 1m12.173s
Bernd Schneider Mercedes 1m12.179s
Mattias Ekstrom Audi 1m12.269s
Christijan Albers Mercedes 1m12.512s
Peter Dumbreck Opel 1m12.667s
Martin Tomczyk Audi 1m12.695s
Alain Menu Opel 1m12.707s
Jo Winkelhock Opel 1m12.800s
Karl Wendlinger Audi 1m13.604s
Jean Alesi Mercedes - no time

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