Pole position for Adrien Tambay and Audi at DTM season opener

Following months of development and testing, the hour of truth came for the Audi squad on Saturday at 16.25. The pleasant conclusion drawn from the year’s first real assessment of where the squad stands: The new-generation Audi RS 5 DTM is fast. Adrien Tambay in the Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM beat last year’s best time by more than a second. Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline managed to get all four cars into the top eight and thus into the crucial third qualifying segment. With seven RS 5 DTM cars on the best 13 grid positions Audi managed a strong overall showing.

“The pole position is a great beginning of the new season,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport. “It’s a nice reward for what was really an extremely hard workload handled by the whole squad in recent months. Today we saw that the new RS 5 DTM is fast. But BMW is strong as well and we shouldn’t count out Mercedes-Benz after a weak qualifying session either. We’re very excited about the race tomorrow and the new race format. The spectators can look forward to a thrilling DTM opener. But for the moment we’re sharing Adrien’s (Tambay) joy about his first ever pole position in the DTM – a strong showing!”

The Frenchman himself talked about a ‘typical DTM qualifying:’ “As usual, it was incredibly close. In Q1, I was almost eliminated and in the end I took the pole position – unbelievable! I’m very happy that it finally worked out – especially also for Audi Sport and Team Abt who did a great job during the winter. The mechanics worked very hard and didn’t have a chance to go to bed before 3 in the morning on the past two days either. I couldn’t have thanked them in a better way than by clinching the pole position. I’m overjoyed.”

Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM), Miguel Molina and Edoardo Mortara (both Audi Sport Audi RS 5 DTM) took grid positions five, six and seven for Audi. Molina had achieved the best time in Q2 but in Q3, in front of the hairpin turn at the end of the long Parabolica, braked a little too late, which cost him some crucial tenths of a second.   

Timo Scheider (AUTO TEST Audi RS 5 DTM) and title defender Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM) on their first joint commitment in Audi Sport Team Phoenix, by taking positions ten and eleven, missed making it into the final qualifying section by a very narrow margin. Youngster Nico Müller in the Audi Financial Services Audi RS 5 DTM of Audi Sport Team Rosberg on his DTM debut achieved a respectable 13th place on the grid.

His team-mate Jamie Green suffered major misfortune. The Briton in the orange-colored Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM, after setting a best time in Q2 in the first sector, slipped into the gravel trap of the Sachs Corner and had to settle for grid position 18.

The first DTM race of the year starts on Sunday at 13.30 local time. ARD will start to broadcast live on ‘Das Erste’ at 13.15 CEST.

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