Mercedes Team Mucke's Christian Vietoris will start the first Norisring DTM race on pole position after topping a ferociously competitive qualifying session ahead of Audi's Mattias Ekstrom.

Little over a tenth-of-a-second covered the top-four runners around the infamous Norisring street circuit while just 0.430s was all that could separate the entire 24-car field.

With the majority of the top-ten runners setting their best efforts during the first of two sets of runs, Vietoris held on to his first pole of the 2016 season despite failing to improve upon his 48.144 second lap during the second phase of the session.

The German shares the front row with Team Abt's Ekstrom while the 'King of Norisring' Jamie Green will keep a watching brief on the pair from third position.

Green is joined on the second row by championship leader Robert Wickens in fourth. Wickens - along with Mercedes team mates Paul di Resta and Lucas Auer - had led the early minutes but later fell down the order as the shootout neared its climax.

BMW's Bruno Spengler was able to buck the trend and capitalised upon a productive late flurry of laps, sending the Canadian into the top-five as the leading M4 runner ahead of Audi's Edoardo Mortara in sixth.

Spengler's late improvement further relegated Di Resta and Auer to seventh and eighth while Mike Rockenfeller and Nico Muller completed the remainder of the top-ten.

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