Spengler on Hockenheim pole

Bruno Spengler banished the dramas of morning practice to take a brilliant pole position for the opening DTM race of the season at Hockenheim

Spengler on Hockenheim pole

The Canadian, who failed to complete a flying lap during the morning, had a new front splitter fitted for qualifying and was in inspired form as he set the fastest time in Q3 to ease into the single-lap, pole-deciding Q4 with Ralf Schumacher, Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom.

Ekstrom, who had been the slowest of the four drivers that made it into Q4, looked set for pole as the Abt Audi driver went around in 1m34.402s.

First his team-mate Scheider ruined his chances by locking up and sliding wide at the Spitzkehre hairpin, and then Schumacher just failed to knock him off the top spot.

Spengler had no such problems, lying just a thousandth of a second up on Ekstrom's time after the second sector, but making up over a tenth through the final sector to take the eighth pole of his DTM career.

Mike Rockenfeller was the best of the drivers who failed to make it into Q4. The Abt debutant was on course to make the single-lap shoot-out until Scheider knocked him out of the top four with his final effort in Q3.

Behind Rockenfeller, Martin Tomczyk was the best of the drivers in older-spec machinery, putting his Phoenix Audi sixth, ahead of Maro Engel (Mucke Mercedes) and Miguel Molina (Abt Audi).

Christian Vietoris was the best of the rookie drivers, putting his Persson Mercedes ninth on the grid, ahead of F3 Euro Series champion Edoardo Mortara (Rosberg Mercedes).

The two British drivers expected to challenge for the title for Mercedes - Gary Paffett and Jamie Green - both endured difficult sessions.

Paffett spun backwards into the tyres at the Sachs Kurve on his opening lap of Q1 at the Sachs Kurve and would not return to the track, forcing him to start from the back of the grid and also bringing out the red flags.

When the action resumed, with Q1 abandoned and everyone else allowed into an extended Q2, Green was unable to make it higher than 14th - one place behind David Coulthard's older-spec Mucke Mercedes.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car          Time       Gap
 1.  Bruno Spengler        HWA Mercedes      1m34.270s
 2.  Mattias Ekstrom       Abt Audi          1m34.402s  + 0.132s
 3.  Ralf Schumacher       HWA Mercedes      1m34.577s  + 0.307s
 4.  Timo Scheider         Abt Audi          1m35.434s  + 1.164s
 5.  Mike Rockenfeller     Abt Audi          1m34.194s  (Q3)
 6.  Martin Tomczyk        Phoenix Audi      1m34.285s  (Q3)
 7.  Maro Engel            Mucke Mercedes    1m34.386s  (Q3)
 8.  Miguel Molina         Abt Audi          1m35.268s  (Q3)
 9.  Christian Vietoris    Persson Mercedes  1m34.445s  (Q2)
10.  Edoardo Mortara       Rosberg Audi      1m34.460s  (Q2)
11.  Renger van der Zande  Persson Mercedes  1m34.475s  (Q2)
12.  Oliver Jarvis         Abt Audi          1m34.559s  (Q2)
13.  David Coulthard       Mucke Mercedes    1m34.698s  (Q2)
14.  Jamie Green           HWA Mercedes      1m34.720s  (Q2)
15.  Filipe Albuquerque    Rosberg Audi      1m34.758s  (Q2)
16.  Susie Stoddart        Persson Mercedes  1m34.778s  (Q2)
17.  Rahel Frey            Phoenix Audi      1m35.403s  (Q2)
18.  Gary Paffett          HWA Mercedes                 (Q1)
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Spengler wins at Hockenheim

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