Mike Rockenfeller said that a risky tire strategy was the key to him securing his first DTM pole position at Brands Hatch.
The Abt Audi driver completed just a single flying lap on new tires in Q3 and gambled that his time would be good enough to take him into the single-lap Q4 shootout that decides pole. Meanwhile his Mercedes rivals Jamie Green and Gary Paffett put more mileage on their rubber in a bid to ensure their progress into Q4. As a result Rockenfeller had fresher tires for Q4, which helped him to pole by 0.198sec.
"I am really happy because I hadn't expected this," said the German. "We picked the right strategy, we gambled a little bit and so had fresher tires for the final heat, but I knew how many laps the other guys had done [on their tires], so I knew we had a pretty good chance [at that stage].
"Also, it was very important to be on the track at the right time. It's so short that it's very difficult to get a clear track. So thanks to my engineer and data guy for finding me the gap.
"You still need to have some luck – like not starting your lap when someone is leaving the pitlane – but it's easier when you have a great crew."
Rockenfeller now feels he is fully back up to speed following his high-speed Le Mans 24 Hours crash that forced him to miss the Lausitz DTM event in June and is confident of adding to his Zandvoort win on Sunday.
"Obviously, the season started pretty good. Until Le Mans I was hoping and fighting for the championship. Then came Le Mans and it was all over," he said. "Norising [the race at which he returned]; I was really slow and struggling a lot. From the last race at the Nurburgring I was strong again and I just keep on pushing to get the best out of it."