Bernd Schneider claimed his first pole position of the season at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday, ahead of the ninth round in the DTM.

The veteran edged out Timo Scheider by around three hundredths of a second with a quickest time of 1 minute 07.248 seconds. It was the 25th pole of his career - and his first since qualifying in P1 at Zandvoort three years ago.

"Today's pole wasn't necessarily what people would expect from me," reflected the Mercedes man. "It is the first time since Zandvoort in 2005 for me to be starting from first place again.

"It has always been clear to me that I would make it back on pole one day. But I was a bit surprised myself that it happened here - especially when you consider that I only set the fastest time on my final one of three laps in the last heat."

"That Bernd Schneider is on pole for the 25th time is quite an achievement," added Mercedes boss, Norbert Haug. "Bernd has been strong throughout the weekend. That he claimed pole on his third lap shows that he still had more potential."

Timo Scheider, who leads the race for the 2008 title, meanwhile was content to secure the other spot on the front row, especially as he is ahead of his two closest championship rivals.

"Congratulations to Bernd. He is always a driver to be reckoned with. I hope that the journalists don't forget the decisive 'n' in the name, because Bernd really has deserved pole today," he continued. "Fortunately, it is Bernd who is in front of me - and my main rivals who are behind me."

Paul di Resta was next up and will start third, followed by Martin Tomczyk and Jamie Green: "Third place on the grid is all right. However, it is annoying that I set the fastest lap time of the day, but unfortunately, I did so in the second heat, which doesn't decide on the final grid positions," said di Resta, who is joint second in the standings with Paffett, 9 points off Scheider.

"The situation for the race isn't bad and we are working on being even further up to the front in the race than in qualifying."

Further down the order reigning DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom was sixth, while Mike Rockenfeller and Alexandre Premat will line-up seventh and eighth respectively. Rockenfeller landed a huge surprise by qualifying in P7 with his year-old Audi. Only one week before, the 24-year old German had won the championship title in the European-based Le Mans Series.

Tom Kristensen and Bruno Spengler both failed to make it through the final shoot-out and will start ninth and tenth, the former losing out in traffic.

Oliver Jarvis, Christijan Albers, Gary Paffett and Markus Winkelhock also missed out on getting through to Q3 and will fill positions 11th to 14th.

At least they got through to Q2 though, something Ralf Schumacher failed to do. Ralf had to settle for P17, behind fellow Q1 victims Maro Engel and Mathias Lauda in 15th and 16th. Susie Stodart and Katherine Legge bring up the rear in 18th and 19th.

To see the full qualifying times click here.



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