The decision to miss the Puebla meeting to work on developing the Ford Focus appears to be finally paying dividends for the Hotfiel Sport team after a much improved display in qualifying for the team's home World Touring Car Championship meeting at Oschersleben.

Free practice saw Michael Funke lead the way in both sessions and although he was unable to match that display in qualifying, team-mate Thomas Klenke secured a season's best tenth place - a position the 38-year-old felt could have been better.

"That's quite a good result but I could have done even better," he said. "On my second run, I had a big slide in the 'Shell-Esses' after I braked too late. There was no way I could have made up that huge a loss over the rest of the lap. And on my last set of tyres, the grip at the front axle wasn't as good as on my previous outings."

Funke also had a moment in the esses which means he will start from 16th on the grid.

"I nearly went off the road in what would become my quickest lap," he said. "I'm sure I lost more than four tenths in that corner alone."

Funke was unable to complete his last qualifying attempt because data revealed a drop in oil pressure went down, however with the team producing its best qualifying performance by far this season, team boss Hans Hotfiel was a happy man.

"Of course it's a big help that we know this track very well," he said, "but I wouldn't call it home advantage. I'd rather say that we are on even terms with all the other teams for the first time this season. We know the track, we know how the car is working on this track - and we proved that the improvements me made during this summers testing are indeed paying off as we expected.

"With a little bit of luck, we could be in for a good result in the races. So far, this weekend is exactly what we've been aiming for."



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