DTM points leader Timo Scheider beat the home favourites to claim pole position for round eight of the championship at Brands Hatch, but only after the F1-style session made an unprecedented start.
For the fourth time this season - and the sixth in his career - Scheider came out on top in high-pressure session, with a front of the grid spot particularly important on the tight Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
The German secured denied Britain's Paul di Resta top spot with a lap of 42.084secs, set halfway through the final phase of F1-style qualifying, leaving his rivals to play catch-up. di Resta was second from the start and, despite managing to improve his time with minutes to go, could not find enough to topple Scheider. The Scot eventually had to settle for second just 0.090secs shy of the German, as Audi and Mercedes split the top ten equally between them
The second row will be occupied by the Three Pointed Star's Bruno Spengler and the first of the Red Bull A4s, piloted by Martin Tomczyk, while Oliver Jarvis claimed the second best performance by a British driver, edging countryman - and Mercedes rival - Jamie Green for the inside of row three.
Reigning champion Mattias Ekstrom appeared to be on course to challenge Scheider for pole, running ahead of schedule through the first two sectors, but then made a mistake on the run to flag and dropped back into seventh spot, where he will line up alongside a fourth Briton, Gary Paffett.
The former champion was perhaps fortunate to be involved in the final shoot-out after causing the first phase to be interrupted after only a few minutes by going off into the gravel trap at Druids. With only a handful of drivers having set a time - and not enough to fill the quota for phase two - the organisers took the decision to put all 19 through to an extended second segment, giving Paffett a reprieve he made full use of.
Mike Rockenfeller and Markus Winkelhock were the first to venture out at the restart, but the action was halted once again as Katherine Legge went off, also at Druids. There was no thought of repeating the earlier decision, however, and the session resumed as soon as the Hofmuhl Audi was extricated.
Jarvis was the first driver out again after Legge's accident, but had to give best initially to Audi team-mate Alex Prémat, who moved to the top of the time sheets - before, incredibly, also joining the Druids casualty list. Jarvis then moved to the head of the times, but was quickly toppled by Green. P1 then cycled between the two Brits and Scheider, before Susie Stoddart suffered a moment at Graham Hill Bend.
At the end of the session, Green emerged fastest, from Ekström, Scheider, Spengler, di Resta, Tomczyk, Jarvis and Paffett, but could not repeat the performance in the third and final phase of the session, seeing Jarvis again top the charts early on, and Scheider finish the job for Audi.