Mike Rockenfeller claimed his first DTM series pole position on a scorching hot afternoon at Brands Hatch.
The Abt Audi driver, who only returned to the series two races ago after his terrifying Le Mans crash, was the fastest driver in the one-lap, Q4 shootout to take the top spot at the 48th time of trying.
After going third quickest in Q3, Rockenfeller was the second driver to attempt his Q4 lap, and knocked the HWA Mercedes of Gary Paffett off pole by 0.198sec with a lap of 42.09sec.
Neither Paffett's teammate Jamie Green – quickest in Q3 – nor Phoenix Audi driver Martin Tomczyk, who followed, were able to beat Rockenfeller's time and had to settle for fourth and third spots behind Paffett.
The fastest driver of all during qualifying was Ralf Schumacher, but the grand prix winner's 41.917s lap in Q2 meant nothing as he was unable to bring his HWA car higher than seventh in Q3.
Mattias Ekstrom will start fifth after missing out on Q4; this despite being just 0.080sec off the pace during Q3. Bruno Spengler was next up, ahead of his teammate Schumacher and Miguel Molina's old-spec Abt machine. Schumacher and Molina, however, will be promoted to sixth and seventh once Spengler's two-place grid penalty for a tire infringement in practice is applied.
The red flags came out early on when Filipe Albuquerque went off at Druids and hit the tyre barrier. As a result Q1 was canceled with its remaining nine minutes added to an extended Q2 into which the 17 other cars progressed. The unexpectedly high number of cars in Q2 made finding a gap in which to set a quick time hard to come by on the 1.2-mile Indy circuit.
The big casualty was Abt driver Timo Scheider, who could only manage the 12th best time, while Edoardo Mortara – who spun at Clark Curve – was another to fail to progress. Illustrating just how close the competition was, the Rosberg Audi driver was just 0.153sec off Schumacher's pace-setting lap and yet was still eliminated in ninth. Maro Engel completed the top 10 in his Mucke Mercedes.
Further back there was an impressive showing from Phoenix Audi driver Rahel Frey, who will start 15th after outqualifying the Mucke and Persson Mercedes of David Coulthard and Susie Stoddart.