Rockenfeller fastest – but Müller takes pole
In torrential rain, Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller posted the fastest time in qualifying for the final DTM race of the season at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. With a time of 1m50.800s, the German topped the time-sheets of a DTM qualifying session for the first time since Moscow 2015.
But the popular German won’t start from pole position after receiving his third warning of the season, which, according to the regulations, results in a five-place grid penalty.
“It was raining a lot, it was super cold and it was very slippery out there,” Mike Rockenfeller reported about the conditions. “We knew we had a good chance, and we tried everything and it worked out. Unfortunately, I have this grid penalty, so I will be starting from P6 rather than from pole position.”
As a result of Rocky’s penalty, Swiss Audi driver Nico Müller, who came within 13 thousands of a second of Rockenfeller’s fastest time, inherits pole. “I’m obviously very happy about that, but I would’ve liked to get the fastest lap in the session instead of being gifted the pole due to Mike’s penalty. Still, I think we were very strong all session, and that makes me confident for the race,. I can’t wait to get out there and hopefully end the season on a high.”
Timo Glock, third in qualifying, will be starting alongside Müller on the front row. “Of course, I’m very happy,” the best-placed BMW driver said. “Especially when the guy who looks after the scales welcomes you by saying: ‘Nice to see you again, it’s been quite a while!’ It shows that we’ve had a rather poor year, so it’s nice to be there up front in qualifying. But the race is where it matters: we have nothing to lose anymore, so it will be all-out for victory. The weather will help us a bit, so I hope we can pull away in front and have a slightly clearer view.”
Behind fourth-placed Jamie Green (Audi), a trio of BMW drivers is led by Joel Eriksson, and followed by Marco Wittmann and Philipp Eng in fifth to seventh places respectively. Champion René Rast ended up eighth, while his fellow Audi drivers Robin Frijns and Loïc Duval round out the top 10.
Jake Dennis and Ferdinand von Habsburg will start alongside each other on the sixth row of the grid after a solid qualifying for R-Motorsport Aston Martin. Lexus driver Nick Cassidy is the fastest of the guest drivers from the Japanese SUPER GT series in 16th place, he leads Jenson Button (19th) and Ronnie Quintarelli (21st).