Audi dominates Sunday qualifying at Brands Hatch
In a domination that is only rarely seen in the DTM, all eight Audi drivers locked out the first eight places in qualifying for Sunday’s race at Brands Hatch. Championship leader René Rast added another three points to his tally by claiming pole position, with the rest of the field three tenths of a second (or more) in arrears.
In the mixed conditions that yesterday’s qualifying had in store, the field was nicely balanced between Aston Martin, Audi and BMW, the three brands in this year’s DTM. Today, with the track entirely dry and a mild wind, the situation was entirely different: Audi drivers essentially dominated around the legendary Grand Prix track in Kent.
After the first runs, the Audi drivers with the six works cars and the two privateer entries from the WRT team – Pietro Fittipaldi’s car ready to run again after an all-nighter by the Belgian squad – already were sat atop the timing screens, led by René Rast. On his second attempt, Rast went a further half a second quicker to post the pole-winning time of 1m15.134s.
“A perfect qualifying,” Rast said smilingly afterwards. “I was never below P1, so that was really perfect. I already had a good feeling after the first run, and the car was just outstanding. I did a perfect lap, so just a perfect day so far.”
Loïc Duval ended up second from Robin Frijns, Jamie Green, Mike Rockenfeller, Nico Müller and the WRT duo of Pietro Fittipaldi and Jonathan Aberdein in what was a clean sweep of the top eight for the Ingolstadt-based brand.
Even Audi’s head of motorsport Dieter Gass was lost for words: “Everybody went slower than yesterday, but we managed to increase the pace a little bit. I don’t quite understand what happened here, to be honest, but it is better not to understand when you are at the front than to not understand when you are behind. Now we need to get the strategy right; it looks quite good for the race.”
Austrian Philipp Eng was the only BMW driver to make it into the top 10, finishing ninth. “I’m bit surprised that we’re so far behind,” he commented. “My car handled very well, so therefore, I am currently a bit puzzled as to why the best BMW is only in ninth, but I think that we’ll be able to move up nicely in the race.”
Daniel Juncadella rounded out the top 10 in the best-placed R-Motorsport Aston Martin.