Mattias Ekstrom posted the fastest time in qualifying for the opening round of the 2007 DTM on Saturday, but unfortunately he did it in the second session and was unable to repeat it in the third and crucial part.

Speaking following qualifying at Hockenheim, Ekstrom explained that he 'tried something with the tyres' at the end and that was why he was 4-5 tenths of his best efforts in Q2.

"The first qualifying of the year went well in the first two sessions," he reflected. "The car was very good. Prior to the last outing we tried something with the tyres but, unfortunately, it didn't work out that well. You've simply got to try and make it all the way to the front - now we'll have to manage that on Sunday."

Ekstrom's error left it up to Martin Tomczyk to lead the way for Audi and although he was unable to match Mercedes driver, Bruno Spengler, he did enough to take second.

Like Ekstrom though he wasn't overly happy with his tyres on his Audi A4: "This was a very difficult qualifying, particularly because the tyres are still holding surprises in store for us," he added. "You never knew whether they'd have optimum grip or not. The set-up of the car was good, but as far as the tyres are concerned, we've still got some work to do.

"I'm incredibly happy with the result though [and to be on the front row]. Best Audi driver in the first qualifying of the year - that's simply a dream! The season has started exactly the way I'd been hoping it would."

Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, meanwhile was also pretty pleased: "We've seen that the new Audi A4 DTM has the potential to set great times. Unfortunately, with Mattias Ekstr?m things didn't work quite as well anymore in the final trial as they had when he set the fastest time in the penultimate section.

"With four cars starting from the first three rows however, we're well placed for the race on Sunday. Of course a pole position would have been nice - and it would have been possible too. But my outlook for the race is positive," he summed-up.