Qualifying: Fassler takes first ever DTM pole

Mercedes young gun Marcel Fassler took his first ever DTM pole when he pipped Audi pace-setter Laurent Aiello on his final run of an action-packed qualifying session at Oschersleben

Qualifying: Fassler takes first ever DTM pole

The Swiss driver was just one hundredth of a second faster than the Frenchman, but had to sweat as he waited to see what his Mercedes team mate Bernd Schneider could manage on his final run. In the end, an uncharacteristic error by the reigning champion left him third on the grid, ahead of the Mercs of Uwe Alzen and Peter Dumbreck. Amazingly, the top five was covered by just 0.072s.

"I realised it was a good lap when I did it," said Fassler of his pole-winning tour, "and then I started another and was slightly faster after the first two sections, but I made a slight mistake and backed off, because I didn't want to risk everything."

Aiello, who won both races at the Nurburgring a fortnight ago, held pole in the opening minutes of the session, then re-took it with around five minutes to go after being temporarily mugged by a brace of Mercs.

"I'm pleased to be competitive again," he said. "I've a good record at Oschersleben and I hope I get another podium on Sunday - hopefully in the same spot on it as I managed at the Nurburgring."

Schneider professed his dislike of the technical and twisting track, but owned up to his final sector mistake.

"I was on pole here last year, and third isn't bad either," he said, "but it's not a place I really enjoy. The wind has been gusting a lot too, so it's very difficult to know how the track will behave."

In a super-close and fast-changing 45-minute session, the pole changed hands eight times, with Dumbreck, Alzen and Audi's Swedish rookie Mattias Ekstrom also taking their turns at the top of the screens.

For Opel, the positions may not have told the full story, but progress was definitely made. Manuel Reuter was fastest in 12th overall, but had narrowed the gap to just 0.952s from pole after a raft of changes were made following the morning session.

"We made several changes overnight," he explained, "but they were quite disappointing, so we made a lot more after the free practice session. Our places on the grid don't really reflect it, but this was a reward for all the hard work the teams have done. I'd love to give them some points tomorrow."

Marcel Tiemann, a last-minute replacement for the injured Bernd Maylander, qualified 15th, one place behind Team Rosberg driver Darren Turner. Turner's new team mate David Saelens, who replaces the departed Pedro Lamy, was thrown to the back of the grid after using more than the allowed allocation of 12 laps.

Alain Menu continued to struggle at Opel Euroteam, taking 20th on the grid after setting a time slower than the 2000-spec car of team mate Hubert Haupt.

Sunday's nine-lap sprint race, which decides the grid for the main pit stop race, starts at 13:15 BST, with the 28-lap feature getting the green light 20 minutes after its completion.

Click here for the qualifying results.





Marcel Fassler, 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 1m23.561s
Laurent Aiello, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 1m23.571s
Bernd Schneider, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 1m23.592s
Uwe Alzen, , 2001 Warsteiner Mercedes CLK, 1m23.613ss
Peter Dumbreck, 2001 D2 Mercedes CLK, 1m23.633s
Mattias Ekstrom, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 1m23.860s
Patrick Huisman, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK, 1m23.975s
Christian Abt, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R 1m24.062s
Tomas Jager, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 1m24.072s
Christijan Albers, 2000 Persson Mercedes CLK, 1m24.215s
Martin Tomczyk, 2001 Abt Sportsline Audi TT-R, 1m24.264s
Manuel Reuter, 2001 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 1m24.513s
Yves Olivier, 2000 Phoenix Opel Astra Coupe, 1m24.531s
Darren Turner, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK, 1m24.588s
Marcel Tiemann, 2001 Eschmann-Manthey Mercedes CLK, 1m24.851s
Joachim Winkelhock, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 1m24.892s
Timo Scheider, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 1m24.913s
Michael Bartels, 2001 Holzer Opel Astra Coupe, 1m24.963s
Hubert Haupt, 2000 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 1m25.817s
Alain Menu, 2001 Euroteam Opel Astra Coupe, 1m26.127s
Peter Mamerow, 2000 Mamerow Opel Astra Coupe, 1m27.470s


David Saelens, 2000 Rosberg Mercedes CLK




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