Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug believes that Bruno Spengler can still achieve a top result in Sunday's DTM race at Brands Hatch, despite starting down in eighth position.
Championship leader Spengler qualified sixth, but will start eighth due to a two-place grid penalty for using tyres not allocated to him during morning practice.
Haug, however, does not believe that the form of qualifying - in which Mike Rockenfeller put his Abt Audi on pole position - will be carried through to the race.
Instead he thinks that the race simulation work carried out by the HWA Mercedes squad in practice will turn things in his team's favour.
"The race will be a different story," said Haug. "We haven't seen any long runs from Audi yet - we will see them in the warm-up, I expect. We had some very good long runs yesterday.
"We have fresh tyres, and if I counted right, then Martin [Tomczyk - third on the grid and Spengler's closest championship rival], has no fresh tyres, so this will maybe be a factor as well."
Haug suggested that Spengler will be put on an unusual strategy in a bid to gain track position over a number of his rivals. The Canadian employed similar tactics in Austria earlier in the year when he finished fourth from 12th on the grid.
"Maybe we can play with the strategy," Haug added. "The championship is wide open. It's a setback for Bruno. It's tough for him, but from eighth...
"We've seen it before like in Spielberg that you can alter the strategy and make progress. We will see."