With so much effort going in to pushing Tom Kristensen to the DTM title, Audi are likely to be somewhat surprised by exactly who will be playing the Dane's supporting role in the penultimate round of the season Le Mans, after their usual suspects struggled in the mid-field.

Indeed, while it was the 2006 specification A4's of Mattias Ekstrom, Martin Tomczyk and Heinz-Harald Frentzen that had been charged with helping Kristensen to the title, it was instead Christian Abt and Pierre Kaffer proving the best of the rest for the Ingolstadt marque, qualifying fifth and seventh respectively.

The best qualifying position of the season for both drivers, Abt and Kaffer now find themselves in the best position to give Kristensen a nudge to the title, particularly as eighth, tenth and 14th was the best the 'works' drivers could manage.

Indeed, both drivers were thrilled with their performance, not least Abt who believes he has an ideal package for the race having struggled throughout practice.

"Yesterday we were out in the middle of nowhere, spent a long time discussing things and hardly knew what to do. Then, we sat down, worked everything out meticulously and now it was perfect. I think our set-up for the race is even much better than for the qualifying."

Kaffer too was left spouting superlatives for his best starting position since the third round of the season in 2005 at Spa-Francorchamps, although the German knows what his role come race day will be.

"A superb qualifying! I'm very pleased about the result for the team, which has managed to get both cars into the top eight. In free practice I still had a few damper problems. Bernd Schneider did not make it into the top eight. That makes me happy for Tom. Maybe we can even help him a bit more."