Jamie Green snatched a last-gasp pole position for the seventh round of the DTM at Zandvoort - his fourth of the season - as the young Brit fought off an Audi onslaught in Holland.

The 24-year-old stormed to the top of the timesheets with just five minutes of the qualifying session remaining, to head off the Ingolstadt threat that had seen A4s fill the leading positions throughout Friday and Saturday practice.

Tom Kristensen will start alongside Green on the grid after lapping les than a tenth of a second slower, with Martin Tomczyk and Mattias Ekstrom sharing row two and Mercedes' big-hitters Bruno Spengler and championship leader Bernd Schneider - who lost time in free practice due to a technical problem - fifth and seventh respectively.

Although Green will now have started on the front row in every race bar one of the current DTM campaign, the Leicester ace has yet to register a victory. He will doubtless be hoping to rectify that on Sunday, especially after losing a certain win at Brands Hatch in front of his home fans in July to a late-race mistake.

The AMG star had struggled throughout free practice at Zandvoort, but came good when it mattered most to claim the quickest time in each of the last two periods of a frantic knock-out qualifying session. In doing so, he also set the fastest lap ever recorded around the Dutch track and secured Mercedes' fifth pole of the year from seven races.

Just over a tenth of a second separated the top four drivers in the end, hinting at a close and exciting race at one of the most spectacular circuits on the calendar.

Speaking afterwards, the pole-sitter said: "I am very happy with my position, especially as we have 20kg more than the Audis. My team and I have been working hard to achieve this result. Overtaking on this track is tricky, so hopefully we can be equally strong in the race."

Second-placed Kristensen was rather less pleased, claiming he had been baulked by Spengler on his last flying lap. Nevertheless, the result still marks Audi's best combined qualifying performance all year.

"I lost a bit of my concentration when Spengler left the pit in front of me," he said. "Whether or not it cost me pole is hard to say, but I was somewhat baffled.

"Other than that, it was a good qualifying with maximum attack. All of my laps were at the limit. I'm very satisfied about being on the front row and it's good to have four cars among the top six here. It looks good for tomorrow."

Spengler - the form man at the moment having won the last two races at the Norisring and the Nurburgring - added he was not entirely satisfied with the result but remained hopeful of a strong performance in the race to boost his championship chances.

"I had hoped for more than fifth place," he admitted. "I pushed as hard as I could, but I'm still confident for the race because the car is perfect and my long runs during free practice were promising."

Further down the grid, ex-Formula One stars Mika Hakkinen and Jean Alesi will start tenth and 17th respectively, the latter hampered by a left front shock absorber failure.

Alesi's team-mate Alexandros Margaritis was later docked of all his qualifying times following a collision with fellow Mercedes driver Stefan M?cke. The Bonn ace received a similar penalty last time out at the Nurburgring, and his punishment will be to start the race from the back of the grid.

In the battle of the lady racers, meanwhile, Vanina Ickx had something to smile about as she out-qualified Mercedes rival Susie Stoddart for the first time in 2006.

The race will get underway at 2pm local time on Sunday.