Ekstrom on pole at season opener

Mattias Ekstrom will start tomorrow's opening DTM race from pole position for the 20th time while the Mercedes driven by Britain's Jamie Green also shares the front row.
Mattias Ekstrom has taken his 20th career DTM pole position after a typically efficient lap around the Hockenheim circuit.

However it was BMW, in the shape of Dirk Werner, who stole the show as the debutant took his Schnitzer-run BMW to the second row on the grid on the Munich marks return.

Ekstrom, took full advantage of a slightly bizarre final segment of qualifying and produced an error free run good enough to propel his ABT run Audi to the top spot. The three remaining of Q4's quartet all failed to clock a clean lap.

Britain's Jamie Green had looked set to place his Mercedes on the top spot after setting the pace in Q3 but the HWA man locked up going into turn 2 and subsequently missed the apex, costing him a chance of pole.

BMW's new hero, Werner also struggled to find the optimum line and ran wide during turn 4 while Audi's Edoardo Mortara did the same through the Nordkurve. Both line up third and fourth despite receiving penalties for 'exceeding the track limits'.

Mike Rockenfeller, who steps into the seat of BMW defect Martin Tomczyk, enjoyed a relatively solid if not unspectacular start in fifth position. The German shares the third row alongside the 2005 champion Gary Paffett in his Mercedes.

Britain's most successful international touring car driver, Andy Priaulx continued with BMW's sensational comeback and will start tomorrow's race from seventh, confirming the Brit's glittering reputation.

Former double champion Timo Scheider finds himself in a BMW sandwich just behind Priaulx while Bruno Spengler and defending champion Martin Tomczyk closely follow the Audi man in ninth and tenth position.

Other notables in the form of Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard struggled in the new generation DTM car. As a result the Mercedes duo could only manage eleventh and eighteenth respectively while BMW's Joey Hand who entered the championship with much promise will line up a lowly sixteenth.

by Simon Evans

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Dirk Werner (BMW Team Schnitzer / BMW M3 DTM (2012)) [Pic credit: DTM]
Jamie Green (HWA / AMG Mercedes C-Coupe C-Coupe C-Coupe) [Pic credit: DTM]
Mattias Ekstroem (ABT Sportsline / Audi A5 DTM) [Pic credit: DTM]
Mattias Ekstroem (ABT Sportsline / Audi A5 DTM) [Pic credit: DTM]

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