Since the beginning of the season Miguel Molina has had a second residence near the Nürburgring. Round seven of the DTM is thus something like a home round for the Spaniard – and on Sunday the 24-year-old will be tackling it from grid position three as the best Audi driver.
As is often the case in the DTM, thousandths of a second made the crucial difference about moving on to the next segment of the four-part qualifying session. This truth was brought home as well to leader of the standings Mike Rockenfeller, who in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix set the best time in the first segment but in the second one missed the leap into the top ten by a razor-thin margin of 0.007 seconds. Thus, ‘Rocky’ will be starting from position eleven, one place behind his fiercest rival in the battle for the title, BMW driver Bruno Spengler.
Rockenfeller’s team-mate Miguel Molina on the other hand managed a nearly perfect qualifying performance and the leap into the top four for the first time this season. The Spaniard missed a position on the front row by only 0.006 seconds. He was highly pleased nonetheless: “That was a good qualifying session for me. My thanks go to Audi and to Team Phoenix. We’ve had many rough days this season. That makes it all the sweeter to finally be able to battle for victory again. I never lost my self-confidence but worked hard. I know how tough the DTM is and that anything can always happen. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Alongside Molina, Edoardo Mortara in the Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg will be tackling the race from the second row as well. The Italian who lives in Geneva was quick in all four qualifying segments.
With Mattias Ekström in the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline on grid position nine, drivers of all three Audi factory teams made it into the top ten. Ekström’s team-mate Jamie Green in Q3 felt obstructed by Mercedes driver Gary Paffett and will start alongside Rockenfeller from the sixth row on Sunday.
Adrien Tambay in the Audi ultra RS 5 DTM will be tackling the race from position 14. Filipe Albuquerque in Q1 in 17th place was lacking 0.004 seconds to make it into the next segment after having achieved the best time in the morning’s free practice.
Timo Scheider’s string of misfortune continued at the Nürburgring. In free practice, a technical defect activated the fire extinguisher of his AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM. Due to a problem with the fuel tank system Scheider at the end of Q1 only had a single lap, which ended in traffic and grid position 18.
“We’ve been able to continue our string of being the only manufacturer to have had at least one car on the two front rows of the grid in all races – and here we’ve even got two,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “Qualifying was as close as usual, the conditions kept changing slightly, depending on the position of the clouds. So that meant a bit of fortune was necessary as well. ‘Rocky’ unfortunately didn’t have it in Q2. Starting from position eleven tomorrow won’t make things easy for him. But Bruno (Spengler) and Gary (Paffett), his two fiercest rivals in the battle for the title, aren’t at the very front either. I’m particularly happy for Miguel (Molina) and Edo (Mortara): Both have had a difficult season so far and will have the chance of finishing on the podium tomorrow.”
After two sunny days at the Nürburgring, rain showers are predicted for the race on Sunday (starting at 13:15 live on “Das Erste” and in many countries on the YouTube channel of the DTM at www.youtube.com/dtmint).