DTM championship leader Mike Rockenfeller set the pace in practice ahead of a potentially decisive race at Oschersleben on Saturday morning.
The Phoenix Audi driver, who leads the championship by 35 points and could be crowned champion this weekend, hit the front with only three minutes of the hour-and-a-half-long session remaining.
His 1m20.947s lap made Rockenfeller the only man to dip under the 1m21s barrier and put the German 0.227s clear of Dirk Werner's Schnitzer BMW.
Werner, who spent a brief period at the front himself, led a trail of four more Audis with Abt Sportsline pair Timo Scheider and Adrien Tambay ahead of Filipe Albuquerque's Team Rosberg-run RS5.
Gary Paffett, who is making his 100th DTM start this weekend, was the best of the Mercedes drivers in sixth, despite a trip through the gravel at Turn 7 early on.
Paffett in the DTM: 100 not out
Edoardo Mortara, Robert Wickens, Pascal Wehrlein and Jamie Green completed the top 10.
Marco Wittmann spun into the gravel through the Turn 8 chicane and also went off at Turn 1 after outbraking himself. Roberto Merhi was another to go off at Turn 1, albeit without damage.
Prior to any of this, the session was red-flagged for a couple of minutes to allow debris dropped on the exit of Turn 2 to be retrieved from the track.
Less than a second covered the entire field, with Rockenfeller's nearest title rival, Mercedes driver Christian Vietoris, 22nd and last.
AUTOSPORT will broadcast live video of both the race and qualifying from the Oschersleben DTM event this weekend. You can catch all the qualifying and race action from Germany from 1.30pm BST on Saturday and 12.30pm on Sunday.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 1m20.947s
2. Dirk Werner Schnitzer BMW 1m21.174s +0.227s
3. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 1m21.191s +0.244s
4. Adrien Tambay Abt Audi 1m21.204s +0.257s
5. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 1m21.214s +0.267s
6. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 1m21.290s +0.343s
7. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 1m21.321s +0.374s
8. Robert Wickens HWA Mercedes 1m21.348s +0.401s
9. Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Mercedes 1m21.370s +0.423s
10. Jamie Green Abt Audi 1m21.372s +0.425s
11. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW 1m21.406s +0.459s
12. Martin Tomczyk RMG BMW 1m21.426s +0.479s
13. Timo Glock MTEK BMW 1m21.478s +0.531s
14. Marco Wittmann MTEK BMW 1m21.570s +0.623s
15. Andy Priaulx RMG BMW 1m21.658s +0.711s
16. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1m21.671s +0.724s
17. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW 1m21.746s +0.799s
18. Miguel Molina Phoenix Audi 1m21.758s +0.811s
19. Joey Hand RBM BMW 1m21.801s +0.854s
20. Roberto Merhi HWA Mercedes 1m21.802s +0.855s
21. Daniel Juncadella Mucke Mercedes 1m21.861s +0.914s
22. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes 1m21.924s +0.977s