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Robert Wickens has given Mercedes-Benz an against-the-formbook pole position at the Red Bull Ring in Austria after prevailing in an incredibly tight DTM qualifying session that would see very little separate top from bottom.

Though Wickens is a race winner already in 2014 after triumphing in the wet from pole position at the Norisring, Mercedes as a manufacturer has generally struggled to mount a challenge against Audi and BMW so far in 2014.

However, the C-Coupe proved much more competitive in qualifying around the Austrian circuit, but with just three tenths covering the top eight in Q3 - and just eight tenths covering the entire field after the three phases - race day is likely to be a competitive affair.

Despite an early spin, Wickens' effort would see him beat former F1 driver Timo Glock in the MTEK BMW to the top spot by just 0.006secs long after the chequered flag had been dropped, while championship leader Marco Wittmann and Augusto Farfus furthered BMW's chances by locking out the second row in third and fourth.

Indeed, Audi's challenge would fall to just Jamie Green in the final knockout phase, the British driver leading the Ingolstadt marque's challenge in sixth place, just behind the ever-improving Pascal Wehrlein. Christian Vietoris and Moscow Raceway winner Maxime Martin make up row four in seventh and eighth.

In the context of the championship battle, Wittmann stands to gain significantly after his closest rivals Mattias Ekstrom, Bruno Spengler, Edoardo Mortara and Mike Rockenfeller could not progress beyond Q2, the quartet left down in 16th, 10th, 21st and 14th respectively... even if they were mere tenths from the top spot.


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