Tomczyk savours first pole position this year
Audi driver Martin Tomczyk celebrated his first pole position of the year in the MOTOPARK. The 22-year-old clocked 1:20.752 minutes in single-lap qualifying of the fastest 10 drivers from qualifying on the 3.667 kilometre-long circuit near Magdeburg. It represents the second pole position of the German’s DTM career after Zolder (B) in 2002. Audi team mate Tom Kristensen (1:20.828 minutes) will start Sunday’s seventh championship race from second position. Gary Paffett, winner of the last race on the Nuerburgring, just managed to secure third place by two thousandths of a second ahead of fellow Mercedes team mate Bernd Schneider. Manuel Reuter was the fastest Opel driver in the super pole, steering his Opel Vectra GTS V8 into start place five.
Christijan Albers, second in the overall standings, starts the race in sixth position – one berth ahead of championship leader Mattias Ekström. Opel drivers Peter Dumbreck, Laurent Aiello and Timo Scheider captured the remaining slots in the top 10. Former Formula 1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen was unable to compete in the battle over start places due to a bowel infection, but hopes to be fit again for tomorrow’s race. ZDF is broadcasting the DTM’s seventh championship race in the MOTOPARK live from 1345 CET.
Martin Tomczyk (1st start place, Audi): “Up to now it’s not only been a good qualifying but also a good weekend overall. My Audi A4 handled well from the onset. I’m of course exceedingly satisfied with the result, especially given that I managed to lap my fastest time of the weekend right there in the super pole. However, it was very difficult notching up a perfect round today as there was sand lying on the course in parts.”
Tom Kristensen (2nd start place, Audi): “In order to be really fast on this circuit you’ve virtually got to ‘ram’ your car into the turns and drive very hard over the kerbs.But that also means that the car then gets very restless. The MOTOPARK is the only circuit in the whole calendar where I’ve already driven before. I’m pleased with my best position in the starting grid this year and am very confident about tomorrow.”
Gary Paffett (3rd start place, Mercedes-Benz): “My lap wasn’t perfect, there were a few errors. Although the third start place is okay, the pole position would also have been possible with my C-class. The race will definitely be tough. And I think that the pit stops will play a major role, especially in respect to whether one gets stuck in traffic after a pit stop.”
Manuel Reuter (5th start place, Opel): “I’m pleased with my best start place of the season. I’ve had a new engineer since the last three races and things have definitely improved since then. I was the fastest yesterday, and our cars were also very good over the distance – in other words during the so-called long runs. That’s why I’m convinced that we’ll be in with a big chance in the race. The race will certainly be very exhausting due to the heat.”
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Audi Motorsport Director): “All three makes were strong today. I’m of course very pleased to have two cars in the first start row. Martin Tomczyk has been fast all weekend. Mattias Ekström has improved, but he had difficulties with the grip at the end of the super pole. The track is very demanding. No driver was able to pull off two equal laps one after the other here.”
Norbert Haug (Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director): “I’m satisfied with the result as we’ve got a good starting position for tomorrow. We’ve constantly improved since Friday. It’s impressive that the first seven drivers are all within two and a half 10ths of a second. I’m expecting a thrilling race. It will be very strenuous physically for the drivers and I’m convinced we’ll see overtaking manoeuvres. The fitness and concentration of the drivers will play a major role.”
Volker Strycek (Opel Motorsport Director): “We expected to be further at the front in the starting grid following our very good performances yesterday. But maybe our drivers were a bit too motivated in single-lap qualifying. Looking at all of them you could see that it was incredibly difficult to get a lap spot-on. I’m pleased for Manuel Reuter that he’s back in the top ranks and that we’ve got four drivers in the top 10. The most important thing tomorrow is to get safely past the first bend.”