Audi takes both top spots on grid at Russian premiere

On the new DTM race track located around 80 kilometers north-west of Moscow, the Audi RS 5 DTM left a strong impression right from the beginning. In the morning’s free practice, seven Audi drivers were in the top eight; in the afternoon, leader of the standings Mike Rockenfeller in the Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Phoenix and Mattias Ekström in the Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline clinched the two top grid positions for Audi.

As a matter of exception, the third section of qualifying on the 2.555-kilometer track of Moscow Raceway was the decisive one. The single timed laps of the top four had to be cancelled on short notice for safety reasons because the rescue helicopter was grounded. By setting the absolutely fastest time of the day (58.423 seconds), Mike Rockenfeller secured the top spot on the grid for the second time this season. For Audi, it was the 70th pole position in total in the DTM.

“Obviously, I’m very pleased to be in first place and starting from the pole position at the DTM’s premiere in Russia,” said Mike Rockenfeller. “My Audi RS 5 DTM was perfect today; Team Phoenix did a fantastic job. My pace was so good today that I’d have been confident to take first place in Q4 as well. We knew that qualifying here is very important but we already worked for the race as well. That’s why I’m hoping that our car will be running well in the race tomorrow too. Let’s see what the weather will do and what other surprises there’ll be in Russia…”

On taking grid position two, Mattias Ekström achieved his best qualifying result of the season so far. The Swede made the leap into the top four for the first time this year. His team-mate Jamie Green in fifth place just barely missed the top four in his Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM.

Miguel Molina (Audi RS 5 DTM), Adrien Tambay (Audi ultra RS 5 DTM), Filipe Albuquerque (Audi Financial Services RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg) and Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) are starting the race from grid positions eleven, twelve, 13 and 14. Edoardo Mortara (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM) is starting from 16th place after several of the times he had set in Q2 were cancelled for his car having left the track.  

“It’s great that at the Russian premiere of the DTM two Audi RS 5 DTM cars are on the front row,” commented Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “Our cars were running really well here right from the beginning. Naturally, the end of qualifying was a bit odd, but I think ‘Rocky’ and Mattias (Ekström) would have had very good chances of taking the front row in Q4 as well. Both were fast in all sessions and always running at the very front. With three cars in the top five and seven in the top 14 we’ve got a good overall starting base for tomorrow’s race. And with a view toward the Championship it’s obviously particularly pleasing to see Mike Rockenfeller start from the pole position and thus having the opportunity to extend his lead of the standings.”

The DTM premiere at Moscow Raceway starts at 15:30 local time (13:30 in Germany).  Fans around the world can watch the race live on the DTM’s new YouTube channel at 39 TV channels in total air live DTM coverage in 141 countries. In Germany, ARD will start to broadcast live from Moscow on “Das Erste” at 13:15.

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