Team Abt Sportsline's Mattias Ekstrom took pole today for the tenth and final round of the 2009 DTM at Hockenheim, while title rivals Gary Paffett and Timo Scheider will start second and third respectively.

In the fourth qualifying heat, Ekstrom claimed top spot with a lap time of 1 minute 32.525 minutes - 0.066 seconds up on Paffett. It was the Swede's third pole in succession and should help him cement third place in the 2009 DTM drivers' championship.

The Swede, who won the DTM title in 2004 and 2007, was delighted to grab P1: "My Audi A4 DTM was simply perfect today," said Ekstrom. "It was fantastic to drive and being all up in front is always nice.

"My goal on Sunday is to have a good start and pull clear out in front. I am happy to have a close view of the battle for the title - and preferably it will be in my rear-view mirror.

"In any case I really want to win tomorrow and celebrate my first victory of the season - that would make me very happy. Also I'd be even happier if Timo [my Audi team-mate] clinched the title at the same time too."

Paffett meanwhile, who trails Scheider by 7 points - 56 to 49 - knows it won't be easy to overhaul his rival. However he hasn't by any means given up.

"My C-Class was great and the 10-kilo weight handicap was not a problem for me," said Paffett. "Today, we have put ourselves in a good position to take victory on Sunday. It will not be easy, but it is a task for the team.

"In the race, I have to finish first or second while Timo may not be any better than sixth [if I am to take the title]. Only like this, I can make up the deficit. Becoming the winner in the final round of the season would be nice. We are very positive and optimistic going into the race."

Reigning DTM champ Scheider is also confident, and he was only fractionally slower, 0.22 seconds off P2 on a 1m 32.613s.

"Following the disaster in qualifying at Dijon, we wanted to return to our previous performance. I am very happy with third place," he noted.

"For me, it was about not losing sight of Gary - and I managed doing that. I can definitely live with third. It would only have been bad to find myself on the fifth or sixth row. Now, like in 2008, we're on position three. Last year, this position brought me the title. I'm hoping that tomorrow it will too.

"We have done everything right so far and are prepared in the best possible way. In the race, I have to be better than sixth. The weather conditions for tomorrow are not making things easy. Taking too many risks would be stupid.

"I will try to achieve a good start and survive the first three corners without any contact. I am looking forward to a great finale."

Further down the order, Paul di Resta qualified fourth with Tom Kristensen, who will contest his final DTM race on Sunday - after 60 outings and 18 podium finishes - fifth.

"I am happy with the second row and I thank my team for a perfect C-Class," said di Resta. "We want to show the spectators an exciting race tomorrow."

Of the rest, Oliver Jarvis ended up the best-placed driver with a year-old car in sixth, whilst Martin Tomczyk, Maro Engel, Jamie Green and Mike Rockenfeller will start from positions seven through 10, respectively.

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher and Alex Premat rounded out the top twelve, the former complaining of vibration issues in Q2.

"Not a bad qualifying for me," Ralf reflected. "My C-Class ran perfectly and Q3 didn't seem to be a problem; however, my car then suffered from vibrations and I wasn't able to improve. I will give it my all tomorrow and try to make it up."

To see the full qualifying times click here.


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