Mattias Ekstrom took his second DTM pole position of the year at Valencia while title contenders Martin Tomczyk and Bruno Spengler both endured disastrous sessions.
Ekstrom had made it through to the one-lap Q4 shootout after setting the fastest lap time of the weekend in the previous section of qualifying, and used the advantage afforded by being the last driver to take to the track to take the 19th pole of his DTM career in a time of 1m30.608s.
Surprisingly, DTM rookies Filipe Albuquerque and Renger van der Zande will start second and third after the Rosberg Audi and Persson Mercedes drivers took their career-best starting spots; Albuquerque 0.413s slower than Ekstrom in Q4. David Coulthard completed the second row in another old Mercedes, the grand prix winner also taking the best grid spot of his career in his Mucke car.
The usual scrabble for the top eight spots in Q2 became redundant when Edoardo Mortara spun his Rosberg Audi into the gravel at the Manuel Herreros corner and brought out the red flags. While the Italian consigned himself to 14th spot on the grid, the remaining 13 cars were allowed into a lengthened 13-minute Q3, all pushing for a top-four spot that would ensure progression into the one-lap shootout.
While Ekstrom, van der Zande, Coulthard and Albuquerque – the latter knocking Mike Rockenfeller out of the reckoning with just 26 seconds remaining - the remaining nine cars had their positions set at this stage.
These included Abt quartet Rockenfeller, Miguel Molina, Timo Scheider and Oliver Jarvis and HWA Mercedes pair Gary Paffett and Ralf Schumacher, who rounded out the top 10.
Tomczyk, who was a consistent top-six runner before the red flags, could do no better than 11th in his Phoenix Audi while Spengler – the year's best qualifier – climbed out of his HWA Mercedes with three minutes of Q3 still to go and will start 13th, behind his teammate Jamie Green.
All three drivers, however, will move up a spot when Schumacher's three-place penalty, carried over from Oschersleben, is applied.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1m30.608s
2. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 1m31.021s + 0.413s
3. Renger van der Zande Persson Mercedes 1m31.173s + 0.565s
4. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes 1m31.338s + 0.730s
5. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi 1m30.202s Q3
6. Miguel Molina Abt Audi 1m30.212s Q3
7. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 1m30.234s Q3
8. Oliver Jarvis Abt Audi 1m30.240s Q3
9. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 1m30.297s Q3
10. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 1m30.304s Q3
11. Martin Tomczyk Phoenix Audi 1m30.554s Q3
12. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes 1m30.602s Q3
13. Bruno Spengler HWA Mercedes 1m30.621s Q3
14. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi Q2
15. Maro Engel Mucke Mercedes 1m30.583s Q1
16. Christian Vietoris Persson Mercedes 1m30.587s Q1
17. Rahel Frey Phoenix Audi 1m30.712s Q1
18. Susie Stoddart Persson Mercedes 1m30.739s Q1