Tom Kristensen has secured a crucial second pole position of the season in the penultimate round of DTM at Le Mans in France.
With the title fight coming down to Timo Scheider and Paul di Resta, strategy amongst the Audi and Mercedes team is likely to be crucial ahead of tomorrow's race.
It was Audi that drew first blood though as Kristensen's effort of 1min 30.149secs around the shortened configuration of the legendary circuit, the scene of the Dane's many sportscar wins, was enough to edge out his rivals.
That included Jamie Green, who flew the flag for the three-pointed star by jumping up to second place in the final seconds.
His Barcelona sparring partner Ekstrom, meanwhile, will start third for Audi, although di Resta did manage to out-qualify his title rival in fourth place. Scheider will line up just behind in fifth.
di Resta still has a big task ahead of him to keep in the title fight though as he stares at a seven point deficit to Scheider with two races remaining. If the German scores three points of more than di Resta in the race, he will be crowned champion for the first time.
Bernd Schneider, Bruno Spengler and Martin Tomczyk, meanwhile, rounded out the top eight positions, ensuring each of the 2008-specification cars made it into the deciding qualifying segment.
Elsewhere, the crucial second session witnessed no surprises as the 2007-specification vehicles that have often troubled their newer rivals couldn't get amongst the leading pack. Mike Rockenfeller was the best of the 'year-old' fraternity in ninth place, ahead of team-mates Oliver Jarvis, Alexandre Premat and Markus Winkelhock, while Christijan Albers was a fine 15th after making it through to Q2 in the dated Futurecom TME Audi.
Before that, qualifying had opened with Gary Paffett being the biggest casualty from the first knockout period, the former champion struggling for form around the twisting circuit against the more nimble Audis.
Katherine Legge was the only A4 not to make it through in 17th, the Brit qualifying ahead of Mathias Lauda and Ralf Schumacher, the former F1 driver ending up last on the grid.