Title outsider Gary Paffett took pole position in a very tight DTM qualifying session at Adria.
The Briton ran first in the pole position deciding Q4 session and watched on as all three of his challengers – Jamie Green, Mattias Ekstrom and Bruno Spengler – held an advantage over him after the first two sectors of the lap.
However, none of the trio could respond to the 2005 champion's final sector. Spengler, who was 0.016sec up at split two, finished the lap just 0.010 slower than Paffett.
Ekstrom completed his lap 0.089 adrift, while Green, who was fastest of all four in sector one, lost out badly at the end of the lap and had to settle for fourth.
Ekstrom initially thought he was out of qualifying after Q1, when he was bumped by Audi teammate Timo Scheider in the dying seconds. But Scheider's time was taken away when the officials deemed that he had started his lap just after the checkered flag came out. A furious Scheider refused to get out of his car at first. When his team told him that he was definitely out, he launched his steering wheel out of the car and stormed into the back of the garage.
Behind the top four, Mike Rockenfeller was best of the rest in fifth, just ahead of championship leader Paul di Resta. The Scot narrowly made it into Q3 by just 0.085sec from Martin Tomczyk, but he was unable to join title rivals Paffett and Spengler in Q4 and aborted his final lap.
Oliver Jarvis and Miguel Molina made the fourth row an all-Audi affair, followed up by Tomczyk and Winkelhock in two more A4s to complete the top 10.
Pos Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
1. Gary Paffett Mercedes 1m10.618s 1m10.120s 1m10.212s 1m10.471s
2. Bruno Spengler Mercedes 1m10.568s 1m10.170s 1m10.069s 1m10.481s
3. Mattias Ekstrom Audi 1m10.915s 1m09.998s 1m10.149s 1m10.560s
4. Jamie Green Mercedes 1m10.831s 1m09.898s 1m10.156s 1m10.700s
5. Mike Rockenfeller Audi 1m10.617s 1m10.253s 1m10.271s
6. Paul di Resta Mercedes 1m10.338s 1m10.285s 1m10.309s
7. Oliver Jarvis Audi 1m10.788s 1m10.130s 1m10.349s
8. Miguel Molina Audi 1m10.732s 1m10.218s 1m10.431s
9. Martin Tomczyk Audi 1m10.852s 1m10.371s
10. Markus Winkelhock Audi 1m10.733s 1m10.464s
11. Alexandre Premat Audi 1m10.781s 1m10.466s
12. Maro Engel Mercedes 1m10.882s 1m10.666s
13. Susie Stoddart Mercedes 1m10.881s 1m10.903s
14. Ralf Schumacher Mercedes 1m10.890s 1m10.975s
15. Timo Scheider Audi 1m10.983s
16. David Coulthard Mercedes 1m11.082s
17. Cong Fu Cheng Mercedes 1m11.083s
18. Katherine Legge Audi 1m11.269s