Mike Rockenfeller topped the opening free practice session of the DTM season at Hockenheim, leading a 1-2-3 result for the Abt Audi squad.
Rockenfeller, who has been promoted to a current-spec A4 by Audi for 2011, set the benchmark time of 1m35.085s in the final minute of the session, beating his teammates Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom by just under half a second.
After the circuit had bathed in sunshine all day, a heavy rainstorm hit just as the 90-minute session got under way, covering the track in water and bringing out an early red flag. The weather improved quickly, however, and after the brief stoppage, the cars filtered onto the still damp circuit to begin their programs for the day.
It was not until the final 10 minutes of the session that the time sheets began to take on a representative shape. Bruno Spengler went quickest with 10 minutes to go in 1m35.804 in his HWA Mercedes. But, in the closing minutes, the Audis came to the fore with first Scheider going top in 1m35.574, and then his Abt teammate Mattias Ekstrom leaping up to second shortly after. Rockenfeller then demoted the pair with his late effort.
Christian Vietoris was the best of the Mercedes drivers in his 2008-spec car run by Persson Motorsport in fourth, while fellow DTM debutant Edoardo Mortara was next up in his older-spec Rosberg Audi.
Ralf Schumacher was the best of the HWA Mercedes drivers in 2009 machinery. He was sixth, ahead of his teammates Spengler and Gary Paffett, Miguel Molina's older-spec Abt Audi and Mortara's teammate Filipe Albuquerque.
Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Mike Rockenfeller Audi 1m35.085s 32
2. Timo Scheider Audi 1m35.529s + 0.444 14
3. Mattias Ekström Audi 1m35.697s + 0.612 19
4. Christian Vietoris Mercedes 1m35.702s + 0.617 21
5. Edoardo Mortara Audi 1m35.732s + 0.647 35
6. Ralf Schumacher Mercedes 1m35.761s + 0.676 32
7. Bruno Spengler Mercedes 1m35.804s + 0.719 20
8. Gary Paffett Mercedes 1m35.831s + 0.746 25
9. Miguel Molina Audi 1m35.926s + 0.841 30
10. Filipe Albuquerque Audi 1m36.000s + 0.915 36
11. Jamie Green Mercedes 1m36.049s + 0.964 28
12. Martin Tomczyk Audi 1m36.120s + 1.035 29
13. Maro Engel Mercedes 1m36.272s + 1.187 25
14. David Coulthard Mercedes 1m36.437s + 1.352 34
15. Renger van der Zande Mercedes 1m36.474s + 1.389 33
16. Oliver Jarvis Audi 1m36.511s + 1.426 28
17. Susie Stoddart Mercedes 1m36.976s + 1.891 28
18. Rahel Frey Audi 1m38.152s + 3.067 32