DTM rookie Marco Wittmann headed the timesheets in practice at Brands Hatch on Saturday morning.
The MTEK BMW driver was a constant factor inside the top five during the second half of the 90-minute session and was not headed after a 41.617-second lap put him into the top spot with 17 minutes remaining.
The German was able to improve his benchmark time to 41.378s during the final minutes and head Mike Rockenfeller's Phoenix Audi by 0.004s.
Two-time DTM title winner Timo Scheider made it two Audis in the top three in his Abt Sportsline RS5 while reigning champion Bruno Spengler was fourth in his Schnitzer BMW.
Miguel Molina's Phoenix Audi and Hockenheim race winner Augusto Farfus's RBM BMW completed the top six.
Farfus nearly caused a nasty moment at Graham Hill bend in the final minutes as he slowed exiting the corner to let the RMG M3 of Andy Priaulx past, but failed to spot Adrien Tambay was also following. The Frenchman had to take to the grass to avoid hitting Farfus.
Joey Hand and Martin Tomczyk were next up with Gary Paffett, last year's Brands Hatch race winner, the fastest of the Mercedes drivers in ninth for HWA.
Paffett was one of a number of drivers to drop two wheels into the gravel on the exit of Paddock.
The others included Filipe Albuquerque and Pascal Wehrlein, while Dirk Werner bounced across the grass at Surtees after running wide at the entry to the left-right sweep.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Marco Wittmann MTEK BMW 41.378s
2. Mike Rockenfeller Phoenix Audi 41.472s + 0.094s
3. Timo Scheider Abt Audi 41.498s + 0.120s
4. Bruno Spengler Schnitzer BMW 41.562s + 0.184s
5. Miguel Molina Phoenix Audi 41.587s + 0.209s
6. Augusto Farfus RBM BMW 41.630s + 0.252s
7. Joey Hand RBM BMW 41.630s + 0.252s
8. Martin Tomczyk RMG BMW 41.654s + 0.276s
9. Gary Paffett HWA Mercedes 41.659s + 0.281s
10. Mattias Ekstrom Abt Audi 41.714s + 0.336s
11. Dirk Werner Schnitzer BMW 41.722s + 0.344s
12. Jamie Green Abt Audi 41.738s + 0.360s
13. Andy Priaulx RMG BMW 41.742s + 0.364s
14. Christian Vietoris HWA Mercedes 41.770s + 0.392s
15. Daniel Juncadella Mucke Mercedes 41.775s + 0.397s
16. Roberto Merhi HWA Mercedes 41.787s + 0.409s
17. Adrien Tambay Abt Audi 41.793s + 0.415s
18. Robert Wickens HWA Mercedes 41.835s + 0.457s
19. Timo Glock MTEK BMW 41.848s + 0.470s
20. Pascal Wehrlein Mucke Mercedes 41.888s + 0.510s
21. Filipe Albuquerque Rosberg Audi 41.901s + 0.523s
22. Edoardo Mortara Rosberg Audi 41.946s + 0.568s