Bruno Spengler scored the third DTM pole position of his career in the season opener at Hockenheim, although his feat was overshadowed by a tremendous run to third by newcomer Paul di Resta.

Marking a successful end to an otherwise tricky day for the new Mercedes C-Class, Spengler's pole position came after he had proved amongst the front runners in each of the knockout sessions.

However, there was less luck for his three AMG counterparts Mika Hakkinen, Bernd Schneider and Jamie Green, the trio failing to match Spengler's pace as they struggled to seventh, ninth and 13th respectively in the much anticipated new machine.

Instead, it was di Resta who was left to grab the headlines after scoring a remarkable third position on his debut, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact he is driving a two year-old Mercedes this season.

With the practice session having yet to establish a clear front runner, qualifying was much anticipated to see whether Audi could make the most of the toils being suffered by the new Mercedes.

However, it was the Ingolstadt marque that found themselves rather red-faced following the first knockout session after losing half of their armada in the bottom six positions. These included Phoenix duo Christian Abt and Alexandre Premat in 15th and 18th respectively, Rosberg's Lucas Luhr in 19th and the two Futurecom TME A4's of Adam Carroll in 17th and Vanina Ickx in 20th. Only Mathias Lauda prevented a total Audi washout by scoring 16th on the grid.

It was Mercedes' turn to be disappointed in the second knockout session though when they lost five of their own cars to even up the battle for the pole-deciding stage.

Still, the manufacturer will still be frustrated to lose two of their new cars, including reigning champion Schneider, whose final effort was not enough to haul him into the top eight, while Jamie Green ruined his chance of a strong result with an off on his best lap.

They were joined on the sidelines by Alex Margaritis in tenth, Audi's Mike Rockenfeller in eleventh, Susie Stoddart - whose 12th marks her best qualifying effort in the DTM yet -, while Green and series returnee Gary Paffett will start 14th and 15th.

With four machines each, honours between Mercedes and Audi were even heading into the final session, albeit with four works A4s and only two works C-Class', Daniel La Rosa's year-old model and di Resta's two-year old model intruding on the leading positions.

Still, despite a frustrating debut weekend, Spengler's form around the Hockenheim, on which he won last year, was enough to take his Daimler-Chrysler Bank car to the top of the timesheets, edging out di Resta who's first lap had seen him initially on course for a shock maiden pole position.

As it happens, Tomczyk was able to sneak into second position to ensure a Mercedes-Audi front-row, ahead of the reigning Euroseries champion.

Audi annexed the next three positions, Mattias Ekstrom leading Tom Kristensen and Timo Scheider in fourth, fifth and sixth, while Hakkinen and La Rosa rounded out the top ten, the latter having failed to set a time in the final session.