2007 DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom put in - what Audi boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich branded - an 'almost perfect lap' on Saturday to take pole position in qualifying at the Hockenheimring.

The Swede lapped the 4.574 kilometre circuit, venue for the eleventh and final round in this year's German tin-top series, in 1 minute 32.244 seconds, edging out Paul di Resta's AMG Mercedes C-Class by just 0.040 seconds. It was his second pole of the season - and his twelfth in the DTM.

"Every pole position is something special, but this one isn't extraordinary," said the Red Bull-backed star. "But maybe it helps that I don't have the pressure of battling for the title. Today, the car was very easy to drive.

"Now, I will try to pull clear tomorrow at the start as soon as I can. And when I happen to meet the two, it is clear that I will be racing Paul [di Resta] harder than Timo [Scheider]."

di Resta meanwhile was satisfied with second as it means he will start one-spot in front of title rival Timo Scheider, who goes into the finale with a slender two point advantage.

"There is always something to improve, but we have done our job," stated the Scot. "The goal was to start ahead of Timo Scheider. But it was also very close between Mattias and me.

"I will try everything to stay in front. In the race, many things can happen. I am looking forward to it. I am in good shape and I am ready."

Scheider was also pretty pleased, especially after he made a small error at the start of Q2 and ran over the kerbs too tight at the end of the main straight. That left his car slightly damaged and he had to pit to have it repaired

"After the mistake I made in the first segment, it was important not to crack under pressure," he reflected. "Of course, I was a little bit more cautious at that point after that. But I ended up close to Paul and Mattias is on pole - Paul can look forward to a hot race. I know how good my car is on a long distance, so I remain calm. At Le Mans, I moved up from fifth on the grid into first place, so I am in a better position here."

Jamie Green will join Timo on row two, having only lost P3 late on, while veteran Bernd Schneider, who announced his retirement from the DTM this week, completes the top five.

"The second row is okay and a good basis for the race," said Green. "Qualifying went well, but I didn't manage to pull three perfect sectors together."

"A good qualifying; my C-Class was perfect," Schneider added. "With my final set of tyres I pushed a little too hard at the Sachs corner. A better grid position was possible; however, Paul was just too fast today."

Further down the order Bruno Spengler was sixth followed by Audi duo Martin Tomczyk and Tom Kristensen in seventh and eighth - the last two drivers' to make the final shoot-out.

"The car was great, but I struggled at the first sector to find a good rhythm. At least, I'm on the third row though," Bruno noted.

Mike Rockenfeller missed out on making it into Q3 by three tenths and will start in ninth. He still had the honour however, of being the best-placed driver with a year-old car.

Of the rest, Audi Sport Team Phoenix duo Oliver Jarvis and Alexandre Premat were tenth and eleventh, with Gary Paffett twelfth, followed by ex-F1 man Christijan Albers and Maro Engel.

"I made a few minor mistakes and therefore I was not able to qualify further up the grid," said Paffett.

Mathias Lauda had to settle for 15th, with Ralf Schumacher a disappointing 16th and female racers Susie Stodart and Katherine Legge 17th and 18th.

"Unfortunately, I damaged my front splitter during the first part of qualifying before the red flag came out," Ralf explained. "Afterwards I was not able to do better. I look forward to a hopefully exciting race and keep my fingers crossed for Paul."

Markus Winkelhock brings up the rear and will start last after crashing out in Q1 going into the Motodrom. The session was stopped as a result of his off and thus everyone - bar the Audi Sport Team Rosberg man - made it into Q2.

To see the full qualifying times click here.



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