Paul di Resta took his second DTM pole position in a row in qualifying at Oschersleben, leading Bruno Spengler for a Mercedes front row.
The Scot, who won in dominant fashion at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, set the tone for the pole position shootout by setting the fastest times in the Q2 and Q3 segments.
Championship leader Spengler had been fastest in Q1, but he could only watch on in the final segment as di Resta, who is nine points behind him in the championship, snatched the top spot from him when it counted.
Mike Rockenfeller was the top Audi driver in third place. The German, who finished on the podium here in 2007, got the better of reigning champion and two-time Oschersleben winner Timo Scheider in Q4 to head the second row.
Scheider will have all four of his Abt Sportsline team-mates directly behind him on the grid. Martin Tomczyk had to settle for fifth, after being set to get himself into Q4 before he lost a lot of time in the final sector of the lap. Mattias Ekstrom and Oliver Jarvis were next up, while the 2008 Audi of Miguel Molina, which is also run by Abt, completed the top eight.
The fifth row is an all-British affair, with Mercedes' Jamie Green and Gary Paffett narrowly missing out on making Q3. Both were on course to get through, before last-gasp laps from Ekstrom and Jarvis knocked them out of the top eight.
That was bad news for Paffett in particular, as the 2005 champion is the third man involved in the title fight with the front row starters. He is currently 13 points adrift of Spengler.
Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
1. Paul di Resta Mercedes 1m22.039s 1m20.960s 1m20.992s 1m21.394s
2. Bruno Spengler Mercedes 1m21.468s 1m21.286s 1m21.219s 1m21.655s
3. Mike Rockenfeller Audi 1m21.544s 1m21.257s 1m21.243s 1m21.836s
4. Timo Scheider Audi 1m22.208s 1m21.206s 1m21.200s 1m22.067s
5. Martin Tomczyk Audi 1m22.217s 1m21.234s 1m21.432s
6. Mattias Ekstrom Audi 1m21.561s 1m21.649s 1m21.514s
7. Oliver Jarvis Audi 1m22.110s 1m21.346s 1m21.654s
8. Miguel Molina Audi 1m21.748s 1m21.575s 1m21.688s
9. Jamie Green Mercedes 1m22.233s 1m21.664s
10. Gary Paffett Mercedes 1m21.968s 1m21.707s
11. Maro Engel Mercedes 1m21.880s 1m21.713s
12. Alexandre Premat Audi 1m22.429s 1m21.828s
13. Mike Winkelhock Audi 1m21.513s 1m21.941s
14. Susie Stoddart Mercedes 1m21.949s 1m21.994s
15. Ralf Schumacher Mercedes 1m22.674s
16. David Coulthard Mercedes 1m22.723s
17. Cong Fu Cheng Mercedes 1m22.791s
18. Katherine Legge Audi 1m22.811s