Bruno Spengler took his third DTM pole position from four races this year with a near perfect lap in qualifying at Lausitz.
Having made it into the one-lap shootout for pole that is Q4, Spengler was set a tough task by Mattias Ekstrom to knock the Abt Audi driver off the top spot. But the HWA Mercedes driver made his opponent look ordinary, lapping the circuit in 1m19.119s – almost half a second quicker than the Swede – to seize the initiative.
As Spengler was on his slow-down lap, only his HWA team-mate Jamie Green stood a chance of knocking him off pole, but the Brit came up shy by 0.4sec as he completed an all-Mercedes front row for the second time in 2011. Ekstrom and Phoenix man Martin Tomczyk, the championship's highest-placed Audi driver, will share the second row.
Gary Paffett will start fifth for HWA after being bumped out of a Q4 spot very late by Green's pace-setting lap in Q3, with Oliver Jarvis outqualifying his returning Abt teammate Tom Kristensen by a place. Filipe Albuquerque will start a career-best eighth in his older Rosberg Audi.
Timo Scheider could only qualify ninth – his worst starting spot of 2011 – although the two-time champion was only 0.2sec slower than his teammate Ekstrom's best time in Q2. Christian Vietoris (Persson Mercedes) completed the top 10, while Q1 pace-setter Edoardo Mortara struggled to 12th in his Rosberg Audi.
So close were the times throughout that anything that was not within 0.4sec of Mortara's pace-setting 1m19.297s in the opening part of the qualifying would not be good enough to make Q2. That proved disastrous for Ralf Schumacher, who lies equal third in the championship. The HWA Mercedes driver could only qualify 17th – just as he did last year – while his teammate Paffett was heading for a similar fate until popping into the top six with his final effort.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Bruno Spengler HWA Mercedes 1m19.119s
2. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes 1m19.524s + 0.405s
3. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1m19.591s + 0.472s
4. Martin Tomczyk Phoenix Audi 1m19.622s + 0.503s
5. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 1m19.151s (Q3)
6. Oliver Jarvis Abt Audi 1m19.233s (Q3)
7. Tom Kristensen Abt Audi 1m19.406s (Q3)
8. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 1m19.545s (Q3)
9. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 1m19.219s (Q2)
10. Christian Vietoris Persson Mercedes 1m19.234s (Q2)
11. Miguel Molina Abt Audi 1m19.258s (Q2)
12. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 1m19.367s (Q2)
13. Renger van der Zande Persson Mercedes 1m19.502s (Q2)
14. Susie Stoddart Persson Mercedes 1m19.577s (Q2)
15. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes 1m19.737s (Q1)
16. Maro Engel Mucke Mercedes 1m19.785s (Q1)
17. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 1m19.818s (Q1)
18. Rahel Frey Phoenix Audi 1m20.370s (Q1)