Although many see the outcome of the DTM Championship as something of a foregone conclusion in the penultimate round of the season at Le Mans, Bernd Schneider and Tom Kristensen were nonetheless begging to differ in qualifying for the race after the title elect qualified down in ninth place.
Indeed, qualifying was expected to be a showdown between the two title protagonists, but while Kristensen eased into the top eight for the deciding shootout, Schneider was left stuck in ninth place and starting in his lowest grid position of the season.
Still, while Le Mans 24 Hour legend Kristensen was favourite to capitalise by taking pole, even he proved fallible around the Bugatti configuration, the Dane being edged out by Schneider's team-mate Bruno Spengler.
Nonetheless, both go into the race with confidence, particularly Schneider who enters knowing he needs to finish just sixth to take the title, even if he has made his job harder with a potentially dangerous mid-field grid slot.
“On my first run in the second part I got stuck in traffic,” he insisted. “With my second set of tyres, I made one mistake under braking and that was it. I will do my best tomorrow, to end up as high as possible.”
Kristensen was also content with his second place, even if he admits he was perhaps missing a little bit of the home support that annually puts the spotlight on him in the Danish media when the 'other' Le Mans race comes around.
"No doubt: I'm very happy to have exploited the car's potential to the max and to be starting from the front row. Of course it was a shame that Bruno Spengler bumped me from the pole position at the very last moment.
“Overall, it's great being back at Le Mans even though it's 'only' the Bugatti Circuit and - compared with June - I'm missing 25,000 Danes keeping their fingers crossed for me…”