Despite Audi grabbing the headlines in qualifying for the third round of the DTM Championship at Oschersleben, Mercedes will be a major threat tomorrow behind Tom Kristensen's Audi in pole.

The added weight added to the Mercedes cars following the success of the first two races in the championship where Bernd Schneider claimed wins did little to slow them as the squad remain a major threat to Kristensen who claimed Audi's first pole of the season, and will hope to claim their first win of '06.

Behind the pole-sitting Audi A4 DTM sits Jamie Green, the British driver who started both the season's races thus far from pole, and he took the fight to Kristensen in qualifying under gloomy skies on the tight Oschersleben circuit.

"The start tomorrow will be crucial," admitted Green, "because overtaking here is extremely difficult. Starting from the front row I will be in a good position for the first corner. My last three consecutive pole positions didn't bring me luck, however I hope it will work better tomorrow."

Canadian Bruno Spengler added to the Mercedes pack at the sharp-end of the grid, qualifying third alongside team mate Mika Hakkinen. Cadanian Spengler has claimed fastest laps in both the season's races so far at Hoclenheim and the EuroSpeedway Lausitz and, along with his HWA team mates will look to deny Kristensen and Audi any chance of glory.

"I am happy about my third place," said Spengler, "It would have been possible to be faster, but in the end I unfortunately didn't manage a perfect lap with new tyres. Third on the grid is a good basis and I expect an exciting race."

Hakkinen, who starts alongside Spengler on the second row, will hope to capitalise on his podium last time out at the EuroSpeedway and boost his championship challenge tomorrow in Northern Germany.

"With my first set of tyres the balance was not perfect," admitted Hakkinen, "however, our team did a great job and I was able to improve to fourth in the closing minutes. Tomorrow I want to make another step forward."

Despite starting sixth tomorrow, the fourth placed HWA driver and championship leader Bernd Schneider, is confident that he can match the frontrunners and use all his experience and guile to maintain his lead in the standings.

"I was not happy with my first run, because my rear tyres didn't have enough grip," sighed the four-time DTM champ. "Therefore, I pitted for new tyres and unfortunately crossed the finish line one second too late and therefore was not able to improve. Tomorrow I will have a good speed."

Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, admitted he was happy with the qualifying outcome and was surprised his cars showed such good speed taking into account the added weight.

"Jamie Green, Bruno Spengler, Mika H?kkinen and Bernd Schneider qualified our four AMG-Mercedes C-Class cars among the top-six and showed a great team performance," said Haug. "Due to our weight handicap I hadn't expected this result. Jamie missed his third pole position of the year by nine thousandths of a second."


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