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.