HWA Mercedes' Robert Wickens will start the first DTM race of the weekend from pole position after securing the top-spot amid a breathless climax to the 20-minute Zandvoort shootout.

The Mercedes C63 driver was the first man to set a representative lap as the session began but it was BMW's Antonio Felix da Costa who led the charge from the opening set of runs.

The times dramatically tumbled as the clock counted down, which ensured for a grandstand final couple of minutes as pole position changed hands on numerous occasions.

Audi's Jamie Green was the first man to produce a sub 1 minute 31 lap around the Dutch circuit but Wickens eclipsed Green's time after conjuring a 1 minute 30.727 second effort.

Despite that time, Wickens still faced a nervy end to the session as BMW's Marco Wittmann and Team Mucke's Christian Vietoris both crossed the line after the Canadian.

Both threatened but neither could displace Wickens for the top-spot.

ART's Gary Paffett also went sub 1 minute 31 to line up fourth ahead of Team Rosberg's Green, who eventually fell to fifth.

Team Abt's Edoardo Mortara joins his Audi stablemate on the third row of the grid while Mercedes' Esteban Ocon achieved his best qualifying result of the year in seventh.

Da Costa later slipped to eight despite leading the early charge as Audi's Mattias Ekstrom and BMW's Timo Glock rounded out the top-ten.

Elsewhere, HWA's Paul di Resta endured a miserable session and will start race one from 20th on the grid.