WRT’s Ferdinand Habsburg beats reigning champion, Rene Rast, by 0.069 seconds to take his maiden DTM pole position. Robin Frijns will start from third on the grid.
Weather conditions were cold and misty for Sunday’s qualifying session, with temperatures of only 10°C. Rene Rast, who has been the man to beat all weekend long, was the first driver to set a competitive time – a 1:19.578. On his second lap, he improved again with a 1:18.849, however, that time was cancelled due to track limits.
This meant that Rast was only 13th when he returned to the pits around halftime. In the meantime, Fabio Scherer was leading a 1-2 for Audi’s customer team WRT with Ferdinand Habsburg in second. Jonathan Aberdein was best of the BMW’s in third.
Drivers returned to the track with six minutes left on the clock. Nico Mueller was one of the first ones to improve on his second run, climbing up to third place. Responding to the pressure from his rivals, Rast, the new championship leader, was back in the lead with a lap time of 1:18.948. Audi Team Abt Sportsline’s Robin Frijns also improved to second place.
Eventually, it would be Habsburg who would take his maiden pole position in the series with a 1:18.879, beating Saturday’s polesitter and Rast by just 0.069 seconds. Before this weekend, Habsburg was aiming for his first podium in DTM, which he claimed yesterday. Frijns ended the session in the third position. Another shocker, Habsburg teammate Scherer will start this afternoon’s race from fourth on the grid. After a somewhat disappointing qualifying yesterday, Mueller ended the session in fifth, despite being only 0.156 seconds off the pace.
Aberdein remained the best BMW driver, finishing sixth. The fourth row on the grid is shared between Jamie Green and Philipp Eng. Completing the top ten are Audi Team Phoenix’ Mike Rockenfeller and BMWs ART driver Robert Kubica in tenth. As a result of an oil leak, Rockenfeller was forced to retire yesterday. Fortunately, his mechanics were able to fix the issue and he was able to return to the track this morning. A disappointing session for two-time champion Marco Wittmann, who will start from 15th on the grid. He’s ahead of Benoit Treluyer, who stands in for Loic Duval this weekend.
‘I feel like the champion of the session,’ said Habsburg after the session. ‘I’m so happy. I made so many mistakes and I knew I had it. I had a bit of oversteer in the first sector. But I gave it my best and I nailed it. I just got it.’
The second race of the weekend starts at 13.30 local time (12.30 UK time).