Bruno Spengler secured his first DTM pole position of the season at Spielberg, the reigning champion fending off a determined attack from BMW stablemate Marco Wittmann.
Schnitzer driver Spengler made it into the single-lap Q4 session as the pacesetter from Q3 and began his flying lap with MTEK rival Wittmann on provisional pole.
But despite being six hundredths of a second down on the rookie after the second sector, a sensational end to the lap gave Spengler a 15th career pole by 0.111sec.
Wittmann's second place was the best qualifying result of his fledgling DTM career and also the first time a car from the rookie MTEK squad has started on the front row.
Last year's Spielberg winner Edoardo Mortara will start third for the Phoenix Audi team while Augusto Farfus made it three different BMW teams in the top four with RBM.
Timo Scheider was the best of the Abt Audi drivers in fifth with Mortara's teammate Filipe Albuquerque next up.
Robert Wickens built upon his Brands Hatch podium by qualifying seventh – and best of the HWA Mercedes drivers. Championship leader Mike Rockenfeller was eighth.
Phoenix Audi driver Rockenfeller will drop to 13th on the grid, however, the German having been given a five-place grid penalty for infringing yellow-flag rules in practice. That means Martin Tomczyk and Gary Paffett – the two other drivers to make it into Q3 – will move up a spot each from ninth and 10th. Paffett did not complete a lap in Q3 after experiencing a loss of power from his HWA car's engine on his out lap.
Hockenheim podium finisher Dirk Werner was eliminated in Q2, missing out on progression to Q3 by just 0.003sec as both Rockenfeller and Scheider hauled themselves out of the drop zone on their final laps of the 10-minute session.
There was drama at the end of Q1 as well as late flyers from Tomczyk and Mattias Ekstrom dumped the Swede's Abt teammates Adrien Tambay and Jamie Green out of the reckoning.
Andy Priaulx was the slowest driver in Q1, and was also informed immediately after the session of a grid drop of his own for also violating yellow-flag rules.