Bruno Spengler led a Mercedes top three lockout as he took pole position for the DTM race at the Norisring.
The Canadian overcame a small lock-up into Turn 2 on his Q4 flying lap to beat Gary Paffett, who was first of the top four to run.
Jamie Green and Mattias Ekstrom ran after Spengler, but neither was able to trouble the top two as both locked up on the brakes into the first corner. Green's effort was marginally better than Q3 pacesetter Ekstrom's though, leaving the top Audi fourth on the grid.
The third segment of qualifying, which decides the four cars that go through to the pole shootout, was effectively ended early when a rain shower hit halfway through.
That left Ralf Schumacher, Maro Engel, Timo Scheider and Edoardo Mortara unable to challenge the top four in the final few minutes, so they had to settle for positions five to eight.
Championship leader Martin Tomczyk could only manage 10th in his 2008-spec Audi, while the marque's DTM returnee Mike Rockenfeller was eliminated in Q1, and will start from the back row of the grid.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Bruno Spengler HWA Mercedes 48.222s
2. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 48.418s + 0.196s
3. Jamie Green HWA Mercedes 48.532s + 0.310s
4. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 48.593s + 0.371s
5. Ralf Schumacher HWA Mercedes 48.124s Q3
6. Maro Engel Mucke Mercedes 48.189s Q3
7. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 48.214s Q3
8. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 48.257s Q3
9. Miguel Molina Abt Audi 48.332s Q2
10. Martin Tomczyk Phoenix Audi 48.353s Q2
11. Oliver Jarvis Abt Audi 48.398s Q2
12. Christian Vietoris Persson Mercedes 48.415s Q2
13. David Coulthard Mucke Mercedes 48.527s Q2
14. Renger van der Zande Persson Mercedes 48.575s Q2
15. Susie Stoddart Persson Mercedes 48.552s Q1
16. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 48.600s Q1
17. Mike Rockenfeller Abt Audi 48.617s Q1
18. Rahel Frey Phoenix Audi 48.907s Q1