BMW driver Marco Wittmann took his first DTM pole position at Zandvoort with a stunning effort that put him ahead of title contenders Augusto Farfus and Mike Rockenfeller.
The 23-year-old German was the third-fastest driver in Q3 and went to the top of the times in the one-lap shootout in 1m30.894s.
He then watched as first Timo Scheider and then Farfus failed to beat his time, ensuring the first pole for both himself and the rookie MTEK team.
Farfus, who needs to take eight points out of Rockenfeller on Sunday to keep the title fight alive to the Hockenheim finale, will start second with the Phoenix Audi driver third and Scheider's Abt RS5 fourth.
Farfus's RBM teammate Joey Hand was an excellent fifth with Filipe Albuquerque a spot further back in his Rosberg Audi. Both Albuquerque's teammate Edoardo Mortara, and Abt driver Adrien Tambay, were on course to make Q4 after two sectors of their final Q3 efforts. But both strangely lost time during the final part of the lap, ensuring that Audi stablemate Rockenfeller remained in the Q4 spots.
Qualifying a career-best eighth – in between the two Audis – was Timo Glock, who ensured that the rookie MTEK team got both its BMWs into Q3 for the first time.
Miguel Molina qualified 10th; the Phoenix Audi driver having pulled himself out of the drop zone after the chequered flag went out in both Q1 and Q2 to continue his good recent run of qualifying performances.
Mattias Ekstrom and Gary Paffett were victims of Molina's late charge in Q2 and will start 11th and 12; Paffett in the best of the Mercedes. Next up will be Dirk Werner, who ran wide on his final lap of Q2 and damaged the left-rear corner of his BMW.
Werner's teammate Bruno Spengler fared even worse and qualified 16th, which will become 18th once the grid penalty and benefit Christian Vietoris and Jamie Green a spot each.
Nurburgring race winner Robert Wickens will start last after putting two wheels on the grass at the Arie Luyendykbocht on his final effort in Q1.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1. Marco Wittmann MTEK BMW 1m30.894s
2. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW 1m30.979s +0.085s
3. Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 1m31.325s +0.431s
4. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 1m32.524s +1.630s
5. Joey Hand RBM BMW 1m31.439s +0.545s
6. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 1m31.443s +0.549s
7. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 1m31.460s +0.566s
8. Timo Glock MTEK BMW 1m31.614s +0.720s
9. Adrien Tambay Abt Audi 1m31.621s +0.727s
10. Miguel Molina Phoenix Audi 1m32.106s +1.212s
11. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 1m31.382s +0.488s
12. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 1m31.414s +0.520s
13. Dirk Werner Schnitzer BMW 1m31.442s +0.548s
14. Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Mercedes 1m31.445s +0.551s
15. Andy Priaulx RMG BMW 1m31.539s +0.645s
16. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW 1m31.546s +0.652s *
17. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes 1m32.055s +1.161s
18. Jamie Green Abt Audi 1m32.067s +1.173s
19. Martin Tomczyk RMG BMW 1m32.088s +1.194s
20. Daniel Juncadella Mucke Mercedes 1m32.145s +1.251s
21. Robert Wickens HWA Mercedes 1m32.241s +1.347s
22. Roberto Merhi HWA Mercedes 1m32.357s +1.463s
* Will drop two places after penalty.