After suffering from electronic issues on Friday and Saturday, Eng bounced back as he took pole for the second race of the weekend in Hockenheim.
A bit different to yesterday, we had a dry qualifying session. That meant we could get a good look at the true potential of the new 4-cylinder, 2-litre turbo engine.
Eng missed out on FP2 on Friday and the first qualifying session yesterday thanks to a sensor problem. Today his luck turned as he took pole with a sensational lap – a 1.28.972. A massive improvement over Gary Paffet’s pole time from last year. This proves what we already thought – 2019 will be the fastest DTM ever. The Austrian was also the only driver who set a time under the 1m29s.
10 minutes into the session it was yesterday’s race winner Marco Wittmann on P1 with a best time of 1.29.734. After coming into the pits and changing to his second set of tires, he couldn’t keep up with his fellow BMW driver. He will line up alongside Eng on the first row of the grid.
The BMW’s are looking strong, we saw that again this morning. This might be a bit worrying for Audi after such a dominant performance in testing, but it is still early days. The best Audi today was Robin Frijns who will start third, though the gap to Eng is 0.740 seconds. The Dutchman had a good run in yesterday’s race scoring a third place behind Mike Rockenfeller. The Phoenix driver, who at halftime was second, didn’t go out for a second time. This means he will start from eleventh place in race two.
A third BMW in the top five is Bruno Spengler, who will start the race from the third row of the grid. Lining up alongside him is fellow BMW driver Timo Glock. The fourth row on the grid is all Audi with Jamie Green and Loic Duval. The ninth and tenth place will be BMW’s Joel Eriksson and rookie Sheldon van der Linde.
An unlucky driver today is Rene Rast. Going into the stadium section, he launched his Audi in the air after hitting the kerbs too hard. He went into the pits to do some check-ups but managed to get out again for a second run. Unfortunately, he couldn’t improve his time, and because of track limits his previous time got deleted. He dropped back to 16th place on the grid.
The best-places Aston Martin today was Daniel Juncadella in 14th place with Paul di Resta behind him in 15th. Rookies Ferdinand Habsburg and Jake Dennis have to start from the back of the grid with times almost two seconds slower than the polesitter.
The second and final race of the weekend starts at 13.30 local time this afternoon. As it looks, for now, it will stay dry, which will give us different kind of race than yesterday. Due to the bad weather, DRS was not allowed during race one, so in this afternoon’s race, we will see drivers use this on their new cars for the first time.