Auer with plenty of power: Austrian claims his maiden pole position
Hardly anyone would have expected this in DTM qualifying at the Nürburgring on Saturday morning: in the final seconds, Lucas Auer secured himself pole position for the race on Saturday. Thus, the Austrian will be starting from first place into a DTM race for the first time in his career. With 1:21.915 minutes, the Austrian posted the fastest time with his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM and was 0.084 seconds faster than second-placed Maxime Martin with a BMW M4 DTM. Pascal Wehrlein, Auer’s fellow-Mercedes-Benz driver and the leader in the drivers’ standings, claimed third place on the grid for the race on Saturday. Behind BMW driver Bruno Spenger in fourth place, Edoardo Mortara was the best-placed Audi driver with his fifth position in qualifying.
Auer was not the only one to score his best DTM qualifying result: Maximilian Götz is sixth on the starting grid. In the race, Mattias Ekström will have a long way to go to get up front. The Swede, currently second in the drivers’ standings, qualified in 17th place. First qualifying at the Nürburgring was interrupted as the red flags were waved eight minutes into the session: Adrien Tambay came off the track and slid into the tyre stacks. Earlier, Paul Di Resta also had an impact into the barriers, during which he damaged his car. Both drivers failed to complete one timed lap in qualifying.
The 16th DTM race of the season starts on Saturday at 13.25 hrs. ARD is broadcasting live from the Eifel from 13.00 hrs. Moreover, the race can be watched live on the internet at DTM.com and sportschau.de/DTM.
Quotes from the three best-placed drivers
Lucas Auer (1st place, Mercedes-Benz): “Yesterday, our pace was already great, and now, everything fitted in well. To be honest: my lap wasn’t 100 percent perfect, but it still was enough. This is simply fantastic and still difficult for me to realise. Mercedes is generally strong here at the Nürburgring, but the fact that I was able to make such a big step here is simply great. In qualifying, I was able to learn something from the first to the second set of tyres, which was one of the reasons for my fastest time. I don’t know yet how I will take on the race later on. After all, it is the first-ever pole of my DTM career. First of all, I want to enjoy this, and then, we will see. In a rookie season, the start is always something very special, but when everything works well, it usually is quite good for me. I will just take it as it comes. Being able to start up front here is a great feeling.”
Maxime Martin (2nd place, BMW): “I am the best-placed BMW driver and I am on the front row. Of course, I am totally happy with that. From the first row, anything can happen. On my best lap, I was doing really well. We know that the time was really good and would be enough for a good starting grid position. Therefore, I was able to get out of my car pretty soon. Eventually, only Lucas moved up ahead of me. Now, I am simply looking forward to the race. I am extremely optimistic and I will try to be the first driver across the finish line. For me, there is only one motto: maximum attack.”
Pascal Wehrlein (3rd place, Mercedes-Benz): “I am definitely happy with my third place on the grid. Especially so, because things didn’t go that well for us yesterday. However, we have made some changes on the car that brought us forward. I would say that that is also the secret of our success this season. No matter what kind of problems we are having, on Saturday, at the latest, we are working into the right direction. Third place is a good grid position for the race during which, of course, a lot of things can happen. The fact that Mattias is so far down the ranks, doesn’t really matter to me. At the end of the day, I want to have more points than any other driver. Therefore, I will always be in full attack mode. I need a good start and a good first corner and then, everything is possible. Of course, I will go for victory in this race as well.”