Last year's Norisring race winner Jamie Green topped the times in DTM free practice in his one-year-old Mercedes on Saturday.
The British driver, who is driving the same car that he took to victory on the street track one year ago following his demotion to an older car this season, was one of the first to do a qualifying simulation run in the closing minutes of the session, and he sat in the pits for the last five minutes as the rest of the field tried to topple his best effort.
Bruno Spengler, another former Norisring winner, came closest but was unable to improve after getting within one tenth of a second of Green's pace.
Mattias Ekstrom was third for Audi, after the Abt Sportsline team experimented with downforce levels on its cars.
Audi traditionally takes several of the aero devices off of the front of its A4s for this track, but it did start putting some elements back on to some of its cars during the middle part of the session.
After spending most of practice towards the bottom of the timesheets, Ralf Schumacher put in a strong lap towards the end which initially put him second behind Green. However, as others improved, the ex-Formula 1 racer eventually had to settle for fifth quickest, just ahead of two-time Norisring winner Gary Paffett.
Alexandre Premat was the top 2008-spec Audi after trading blows at the top with Green for a while. The Frenchman had an eventful session, which included several big lock-ups into the hairpins, and even a spin at the last corner on one of his hot laps.
The morning timetable required a bit of a shuffle to enable the drivers to get any significant track time, as the session was delayed for 90 minutes when some drain covers came loose on the track in the first 30 minutes, damaging any cars that ran over them.
The Audis of Mike Rockenfeller and Katherine Legge made slight contact with the drains which made their cars jump through the air, while Markus Winkelhock destroyed the floor and rear of his car when he smashed into one on the main straight.
Officials spent a long time working on a solution, choosing to weld some of the drains down, while the one destroyed by Winkelhock was filled with cement.
The session restarted once that was complete, but the main straight was placed under yellow flags with the cement area deemed out of bounds to enable it to set properly.TIMES:
Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1. Jamie Green Mercedes 48.405s
2. Bruno Spengler Mercedes 48.466s + 0.061s
3. Mattias Ekstrom Audi 48.547s + 0.142s
4. Timo Scheider Audi 48.553s + 0.148s
5. Ralf Schumacher Mercedes 48.608s + 0.203s
6. Gary Paffett Mercedes 48.614s + 0.209s
7. Alexandre Premat Audi 48.634s + 0.229s
8. Paul di Resta Mercedes 48.689s + 0.284s
9. Mathias Lauda Mercedes 48.710s + 0.305s
10. Maro Engel Mercedes 48.768s + 0.363s
11. Martin Tomczyk Audi 48.787s + 0.382s
12. Tom Kristensen Audi 48.791s + 0.386s
13. Susie Stoddart Mercedes 48.851s + 0.446s
14. Mike Rockenfeller Audi 48.856s + 0.451s
15. Oliver Jarvis Audi 48.995s + 0.590s
16. Katherine Legge Audi 49.072s + 0.667s
17. Markus Winkelhock Audi 49.160s + 0.755s
18. Tomas Kostka Audi 49.388s + 0.983s
19. Christian Bakkerud Audi 49.399s + 0.994s