Mattias Ekstrom took his first DTM pole position for a year as he maximized the weather conditions in Nurburgring qualifying to beat Jamie Green to the top spot by over three seconds.
The Abt Audi driver had been quickest in Q3 and was therefore the last man to attempt a lap time in the Q4 single lap shootout. While this would have been a slight advantage in dry conditions, it turned into a huge one at the Nurburgring as light rain abated in time for the Swede's attempt.
The result was a 1m32.066s lap that knocked HWA Mercedes man Green back to second. Mike Rockenfeller cost himself a couple of seconds by locking up and sliding off at Turn 1 and qualified his Abt Audi third, ahead of championship leader Bruno Spengler's Mercedes.
All four made it into Q4 having used only one set of slick tyres in Q3. The only man to attempt a run on a fresh set was Edoardo Mortara, who just failed to progress and qualified his Rosberg Audi fifth. He was the best of the drivers in old-spec machinery. Behind him were Miguel Molina in a season's best sixth in his Abt Audi, Martin Tomczyk's Phoenix-run A4 and Timo Scheider's Abt car.
Gary Paffett was a high-profile absentee from Q3, the Briton having been knocked out in the previous section of qualifying after only setting the 13th-fastest time in his HWA car. The rest of Q2 was uneventful, but did produce a career-best ninth place on the grid for Persson Mercedes driver Renger van der Zande and a season's best 10th spot for David Coulthard in the best of the Mucke car. It also featured a near disaster for Spengler, who needed a sterling last-minute effort to get him into a safe third Q3 spot.
Q1 was a fraught affair as light rain began to fall after just five minutes, making the track surface super-slippery and causing the likes of Maro Engel and Scheider to outbrake themselves at the first corner. Despite this, nobody deemed it wet enough to pit for slick tires.
Paffett's decision to wait until the second half of the session to venture onto the track looked set to backfire as the times continued to slow. But the former champion timed his run to perfection as the rain stopped and a more grippy line emerged with a few minutes to go.
While this allowed Tomczyk to set the quickest time of Q1 in the final minute, it also allowed Paffett and Scheider – who had been 17th and 18th as they started their final laps – to climb to fourth and sixth, comfortably making it into Q2.
The unfortunate four who were bumped out as a result were Oliver Jarvis (Abt), Rahel Frey (Phoenix Audi), Ralf Schumacher (HWA) and Engel (Mucke).
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1m32.066s +
2. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes 1m35.246s + 3.180s
3. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi 1m35.544s + 3.478s
4. Bruno Spengler HWA Mercedes 1m37.144s + 5.078s
5. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 1m24.374s (Q3)
6. Miguel Molina Abt Audi 1m24.440s (Q3)
7. Martin Tomczyk Phoenix Audi 1m24.496s (Q3)
8. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 1m24.695s (Q3)
9. Renger van der Zande Persson Mercedes 1m24.501s (Q2)
10. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes 1m24.525s (Q2)
11. Christian Vietoris Persson Mercedes 1m24.549s (Q2)
12. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 1m24.568s (Q2)
13. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 1m24.644s (Q2)
14. Susie Stoddart Persson Mercedes 1m25.063s (Q2)
15. Oliver Jarvis Abt Audi 1m26.965s (Q1)
16. Rahel Frey Phoenix Audi 1m27.036s (Q1)
17. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 1m27.147s (Q1)
18. Maro Engel Mucke Mercedes 1m27.275s (Q1)