Click here for full DTM qualifying one results from the Nurburgring
Lucas Auer has stormed to a maiden DTM pole position at the Nurburgring after pinching top spot from Maxime Martin late on, while championship leader Pascal Wehrlein put himself in a useful third place on the grid.
The DTM rookie has surprised the majority of the grid with a late lap of 1m 21.915s for his first pole position in the series with ART Mercedes.
The session was briefly suspended by a red flag after Adrien Tambay suffered a mechanical fault which left him helpless to shunt headfirst into the crash barriers. His off forced race direction to red flag the session so Tambay's Abt Audi could safely be recovered by the stewards.
Once the session restarted Martin jumped to the top, displacing Mike Rockenfeller from provisional pole, but it was the young Austrian who pulled out the perfect lap late on.
Wehrlein will also be grinning after his main championship rival Mattias Ekstrom had a nightmare in qualifying and starts from 17th on the grid for race one.
Bruno Spengler joins Wehrlein on the second row ahead of Edoardo Mortara and Maximilian Gotz, who also grabbed his best qualifying result of the season in sixth.
Jamie Green enjoyed a solid but unspectacular qualifying in seventh ahead of Rockenfeller and Daniel Juncadella as Miguel Molina rounded out the top ten.
The DTM field instantly got up to speed in qualifying with Paffett heading proceedings with a 1m 22.334s, over half a second faster than the quickest lap produced in Friday free practice by timesheet topper Molina.
Paul di Resta, who ended free practice second fastest, suffered an off on his out lap which saw him oversteer into the barriers and sustain heavy right-rear damage. The Scottish driver limped back into the pits in the hope his team could mend the car in time for him to continue in qualifying.
Moments later a second crash saw Tambay fly off the circuit and into the barriers and needed recovering which forced the red flag stoppage.
Once qualifying resumed the times continued to tumble with Rockenfeller briefly holding top spot before losing it to Martin, who became the first driver to duck under the 1m 22s barrier for provisional pole.
As the clocked ticked down a number of drivers threatened Martin's time but failed to better it until Auer lined it up spectacularly to take pole by 0.084s.