Audi had vowed to dominate rival Mercedes in the seventh round of the DTM this weekend at Zandvoort, and in free practice the marque was as good as its word as A4 drivers filled the top five positions in the morning session.

As at the Nurburgring two weeks ago, it was ex Formula One ace Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the top of the timesheets at the end of the opening day, a full four tenths of a second clear of his closest pursuer, Stefan Mucke.

But speaking after the session, the man from Monchengladbach downplayed the significance of his lap time.

"The weekend is off to a very good start," he said. "The circuit here at Zandvoort does seem to suit me well, but Friday times never mean that much in the DTM.

"Today the set-up for the race was one of our top priorities. Even a fast lap on new tyres worked out immediately, although we hadn't been shooting for it. Now we need to do our homework to find an optimum race trim."

Tomczyk, who had led the way in the morning, is a former podium finisher at the challenging Dutch track and added: "I'm satisfied with the way today went. In the morning we worked towards qualifying and came up with a good set-up, as my time confirmed.

"In the afternoon the main focus was on the set-up for the race, with which I managed to do quite a decent long run. Now we've got a lot of data to analyse and I'm hoping we'll be able to translate it all into a good result tomorrow."

Audi's main hope for the championship, Tom Kristensen, was also on the pace, ending the two sessions respectively third and seventh, some way ahead of key title rival Bernd Schneider.

"It was a typical Friday," the Dane said. "We completed our programme exactly as planned and concentrated fully on going through the various set-up strategies. My long run in the afternoon was very good and I was able to set consistently quick times."

Summing up the confident mood in the Ingolstadt camp at the end of the first day, head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said: "Fortunately we had a streak of dry weather and were therefore able to work consistently. We've come up with good set-ups which we're now going to consolidate. I think we're very well-prepared."

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