Timo Scheider's hopes of wrapping up the 2009 DTM title one round early were dealt a blow after he was caught out by changeable weather on the way to qualifying in 16th position in Dijon.
The German needs to just finish ahead of Mattias Ekstrom and Gary Paffett in order to defend his crown, but with damp conditions causing headaches over set-up, Scheider went the wrong way and was dumped out of the second knockout phase.
Leaving him 14th on the grid, Scheider was nonetheless aided by Ekstrom and Paffett being unable to full capitalise, the Swede qualifying fourth and the Briton managing eighth.
Instead, pole position went to Bruno Spengler, the Canadian being joined on the front row of the grid by Paul di Resta. Tom Kristensen made it two Mercedes-two Audis in the top four shootout by qualifying as the best of the Ingolstadt contingent in third.
Just missing out on the final qualifying phase, Maro Engel will nonetheless start from his best-ever DTM grid position in fifth, a feat that can also be said for Ralf Schumacher, who joins him on the third row.
Jamie Green and Gary Paffett make up an all-British row four, while Martin Tomczyk and Oliver Jarvis round out the top ten positions.