Hockenheim DTM: Paffett takes pole for season opener

Mercedes began its final DTM season by taking pole in the first qualifying session at Hockenheim through its 2005 champion Gary Paffett. 

Hockenheim DTM: Paffett takes pole for season opener
Timo Glock, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM
René Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM
Mike Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Nico Müller, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi RS 5 DTM
Joel Eriksson, BMW Team RBM, BMW M4 DTM
Paul Di Resta, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Mattias Ekström, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Audi RS5 DTM

Paffett's benchmark 1m32.264s was over one and a half seconds slower than last year's Saturday pole time thanks to the new standardised aero package and simplified suspension. 

The fastest lap was set during the first flying runs and was 0.2s quicker than earlier challenger and Mercedes stablemate Lucas Auer.

By the end of the first runs, Mercedes had three cars in the top six as Audi had just one driver, defending champion Rene Rast, inside the top 10.

Paffett failed to improve his time in the second run but two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann set three personal best sectors to climb to second, trailing the pole time by just 0.199s. 

Timo Glock took the final qualifying point by placing his BMW in third ahead of Lucas Auer. 

Former Sauber Formula 1 driver Pascal Wehrlein began his DTM comeback with fifth, having been second in the morning's practice session that proved far more representative than the first on Friday. 

Augusto Farfus was sixth ahead of Mercedes' Edoardo Mortara and BMW teammate Bruno Spengler.

Rast's title defence began with ninth in qualifying after he ended his first run inside the top six. 

Joel Eriksson was 10th for BMW ahead of Audi's Mike Rockenfeller and Paul di Resta. Audi's Loic Duval is competing in both the World Endurance Championship and the DTM this weekend and returned to Hockenheim to qualify 16th.

That was two places higher than the seventh Audi entry of two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom as the Swede enters his farewell event.

Qualifying results

PosDriverCarLapsTimeGap
1 united_kingdom  Gary Paffett  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 6 1'32.264  
2 germany  Marco Wittmann  BMW M4 DTM 7 1'32.463 0.199
3 germany  Timo Glock  BMW M4 DTM 8 1'32.468 0.204
4 austria  Lucas Auer  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 8 1'32.484 0.220
5 germany  Pascal Wehrlein  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 8 1'32.486 0.222
6 brazil  Augusto Farfus  BMW M4 DTM 10 1'32.683 0.419
7 italy  Edoardo Mortara  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 9 1'32.719 0.455
8 canada  Bruno Spengler  BMW M4 DTM 9 1'32.776 0.512
9 germany  René Rast  Audi RS5 DTM 8 1'32.780 0.516
10 sweden  Joel Eriksson  BMW M4 DTM 10 1'32.794 0.530
11 germany  Mike Rockenfeller  Audi RS5 DTM 10 1'32.811 0.547
12 united_kingdom  Paul di Resta  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 7 1'32.841 0.577
13 spain  Daniel Juncadella  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 9 1'32.889 0.625
14 switzerland  Nico Müller  Audi RS5 DTM 9 1'32.986 0.722
15 austria  Philipp Eng  BMW M4 DTM 10 1'32.990 0.726
16 france  Loic Duval  Audi RS5 DTM 10 1'33.036 0.772
17 netherlands  Robin Frijns  Audi RS5 DTM 10 1'33.094 0.830
18 sweden  Mattias Ekström  Audi RS5 DTM 9 1'33.174 0.910
19 united_kingdom  Jamie Green  Audi RS5 DTM 9 1'33.250 0.986
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