Martin Tomczyk has given his DTM title hopes a significant boost in qualifying for the penultimate round of the season at Barcelona after securing a comfortable pole position.
His second consecutive pole position, Tomczyk is chasing his third straight victory and one that could well swing the title pendulum in his favour having moved to within four points of team-mate and championship leader Mattias Ekstrom following his lights-to-flag win last time out at the Nurburgring.
Also looking to repeat the victory he scored around the Spanish circuit in 2006, all predictions are pointing towards Tomczyk claiming his third win in a row, although he will have to do it without the help of his Audi counterparts as Mercedes otherwise dominated proceedings.
Indeed, only Tomczyk was able to fly the Audi flag at the head of the field, the German joined by just Timo Scheider in the top eight shootout, although he will start down in seventh place and leaves Tomczyk having to fend off six Mercedes just behind on the grid.
Hakkinen led the three-pointed star charge, the Finn enjoying a mixed session that eventually came good in the final seconds. Indeed, the two-time winner almost failed to make the cut during the second knockout session before his final lap squeezed him into the top eight, but eventually did enough to score a spot on the front of the grid.
Nonetheless, his task come race day is likely to be to help Bruno Spengler, the Canadian the only Mercedes driver with a fighting chance of remaining in the title hunt. He will start third, with Bernd Schneider fourth, the German, together with Paul di Resta, also mathematically able to win the championship, but needing two wins from the final two races.
Jamie Green will start fifth, although having gone fastest in the second knockout session, the Brit is likely to be disappointed with a spot on the third row. He will be joined by counterpart Gary Paffett, with Scheider seventh and Alex Margaritis eighth in year-old Persson Mercedes.
Outside the top eight, Ekstrom was the big loser for the second race in a row. The Swede failed to make the cut and will start in tenth place behind Mike Rockenfeller. However, having scored a podium from that position at the Nurburgring, Ekstrom will remain confident of a good result – provided he can fight his way through the barrage of Mercedes ahead.
Also failing to make it into the top ten was Tom Kristensen, who will start 11th, ahead of di Resta, Christian Abt and Daniel La Rosa.
Markus Winkelhock, Alex Premat, Lucas Luhr, Mathias Lauda, Susie Stoddart and Vanina Ickx filled out positions 15 to 20 after being knocked out in the first qualifying session.
To view the full qualifying times at Barcelona click here