Paffett takes pole – Häkkinen third on the grid
In the qualifying for the second round of the 2005 DTM season, held at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, Briton Gary Paffett turned out to be the benchmark. On the way to his pole position, Paffett (1:15.808 minutes) was a clear 0.207 seconds faster than his compatriot and team-mate Jamie Green who secured second position on the grid. Supported by the cheers of the entire crowd, Mika Häkkinen clinched third place, thus succeeding in making it to the top-three in his maiden DTM Super Pole. The two-time Formula One World Champion lapped the 3.442-kilometre circuit in 1:16.106 minutes.
Audi driver Mattias Ekström, the reigning champion, will be fourth on the grid for tomorrow’s race, thus sharing row two with Mika Häkkinen, while the AMG C-Class drivers Bernd Schneider and Bruno Spengler finished fifth and sixth respectively. The 48-lap race at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz will start on Sunday at 14:00hrs and the German TV station ARD will begin its live coverage at 13:45hrs.
Just as it was the case at Hockenheim, Marcel Fässler once again turned out to be the fastest Opel driver. Behind the wheel of his Opel Vectra GTS V8, the Swiss driver secured eighth position on the grid. The winner of the season-opener, Jean Alesi (AMG-Mercedes C-Class), Allan McNish (Audi A4 DTM) and Opel’s Heinz-Harald Frentzen missed the Super Pole and will be 11th, 13th and 17th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Gary Paffett (pole position, DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes):
“Last year, things didn’t run that good for me, at the EuroSpeedway and I had to compensate for that. Today, everything was perfect. Both the track and my car were just great. Now I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”
Jamie Green (runner-up, Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes): “Unfortunately I made some minor mistakes, at the beginning of my Super Pole lap. But the end of the lap was really good and I was three tenths of a second faster than in the qualifying session. I made two mistakes during the race at Hockenheim and I hope to have learned my lesson.”
Mika Häkkinen (3rd grid position, Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes): „A great result. I have succeeded in adapting to the car clearly better than it was the case in Hockenheim and have learned to know its limits. I want to score as many points as possible, tomorrow, but there are still a lot of things I’ve got to learn. I have to admit that I’m surprised to have secured third grid position. It was my goal to make it to the Super Pole, but this result is just mega.”
Mattias Ekström (4th grid position, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline): “This was neither the best nor the worst Super Pole lap of my life. I didn’t make any major mistakes, I just wasn’t fast enough. The car feels really great, and I would love to contest the third round, at Spa, with ten kilos ballast weight.”
Marcel Fässler (8th grid position, Opel): “We failed to make the best use of the tyres in yesterday’s tests, therefore, we changed several things on the car for today. This was enough to make it to the Super pole, at least. But there is still quite a lot of work to do if we want to secure a better result, tomorrow.”
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director Norbert Haug: “I have to admit that we didn’t expect this remarkable success. The entire crew has made a fantastic job, getting the best out of the car. Thanks to this effort and a little luck we succeeded in securing the top-three grid positions. I expected Mika’s great performance as I know him as an extremely precise driver, but I was surprised that he was able to deliver at this level already during the second weekend of the season.”
Audi Motorsport Director Dr Wolfgang Ullrich: “Today, we once again witnessed the extreme competitiveness on the DTM grid. Quite obviously, the qualifying result represents a disappointment for us as we haven’t secured the grid positions we wanted to. Now we’ve got to try to make the best of our situation, in the race.”
Opel Motorsport Director Volker Strycek: “Quite obviously, I’m not pleased with our result. In yesterday’s test sessions, already, we struggled when trying to make the maximum use of the tyres. There is still a lot of work to do until tomorrow. Marcel has once again delivered in fine style.”