Saturday 28 April 2012
Pole for Ekström in DTM season opener, great comeback by BMW
Hockenheim. The time of testing, speculating, waiting is finally over: the 2012 DTM
season got underway, traditionally at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. Packed
grandstands and summery temperatures provided a perfect backdrop for the first real
encounter of the three premium manufacturers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
In qualifying, Swedish driver Mattias Ekström came out on top with his new Audi A5
DTM and claimed pole position for Sunday’s season opener. Ekström completed the lap
of the 4.574 kilometres long track in 1:34.680 minutes and was classified ahead of
Mercedes-Benz driver Jamie Green from Great Britain. As a result, two times’ DTM
champion Ekström will be starting from first place on the grid for a DTM race for the
19th time in his career. “To start the season with pole position is the best thing that
could happen. It is like being at school: you learn, you do your homework and you now
see the result. There are no points for pole position, but in the race, I definitely have the
shortest road to the finish”, said ‘Eki’.
Second-placed Jamie Green was also very happy with the start of the season. “We have
done a lot of work over the winter and now, we know where we are. We are on a very
good way. One could see that it was really close between the three manufacturers and
you have to get everything spot on to be in front.”
BMW celebrated a great comeback. Dirk Werner from Hannover showed an
impressive performance and ended up third with his BMW M3 DTM. “This is an
incredible result. I never expected to make it into the final qualifying heat. Beforehand,
we already had a good feeling, but that it turned out that well is making it even more
beautiful”, said the overjoyed BMW driver.
Two Audi drivers, Italian Edoardo Mortara and Mike Rockenfeller (D) will be starting
from fourth and fifth place on the grid. Briton Gary Paffett ended up sixth with the DTM
Mercedes AMG C-Coupé.
Next to Werner, six further drivers are making their DTM debut at Hockenheim. British
driver Andy Priaulx (BMW) ended up seventh in qualifying, Adrian Tambay (Audi) from
France was classified twelfth, Canadian Robert Wickens (Mercedes-Benz) 13th, Joey
Hand (BMW) from the USA 16th, Augusto Farfus (BMW) from Brazil 19th and Spaniard
Roberto Merhi (Mercedes-Benz) will be starting from 20th.
DTM 2012 – Press Release No. 17 28th April, 2012
For this season, the format of the four-heat shoot-out qualifying was revised. After the
first 16 minutes’ heat (Q1), the drivers in 17th to 22nd place are eliminated. After
another eleven minutes (Q2), qualifying is over again for the six slowest drivers. After
the third eleven minutes’ qualifying heat (Q3), the field is reduced again by six drivers,
so that the four fastest drivers remain to battle for pole position in a single-lap
FIA president Jean Todt was also on site and was impressed by the “new DTM”: “The
cars are very interesting. I have seen many things from which I can learn. The DTM has
a good mix of young talents and experienced drivers, who are also coming from
The first race of the season covers 40 laps and 182.960 kilometres and starts on
Sunday at 14.00 h. The ARD is broadcasting live from 13.15 h.
DTM Presse/for acreditated media.
Posted by AmigosRacing/MRS GT. at 17:00