Marci Wittmann claimed the first pole position of DTM’s new Class One era this morning at a wet and windy Hockenheimring.
The double champion spent much of the twenty-minute session at or near the top of the standings in his BMW M4, threatened only by the Audi of Mike Rockenfeller in his RS5.
R-Motorsport made an impression with their new DTM-spec Aston Martin Vantage’s, with Paul di Resta taking 3rd, and Jake Dennis eventually securing 5th having spent much of the session in the top four.
Following a wet morning, further rainfall just prior to the start of the session made conditions particularly tricky, although Wittmann made the most of the damp surface, holding the top spot with a 1:51.2s.
However, as the session aged, the rain eased and while not drying out by any stretch of the imagination, the deeper puddles of water were swept aside allowing times to fall somewhat.
Wittmann closed in on the 1:50 marker, but Rockenfeller was the first to breach it, setting a 1:49.209 inside the final five minutes, putting him some eight-tenths clear of the next fastest.
Wittmann improved to 1:49.6s, but was momentarily jumped by Audi’s Rene Rast, before the BMW retook the top spot at 1:48.9s, bringing him ahead of Rockenfeller. Wittmann then took another eight-tenths out of that to finally secure poll and the first points of the year.
Rockenfeller improved, setting a lap of 1:48.281s, but he fell just six-hundredths shy of his BMW rival. Di Resta jumped up to 3rd late on, while Rast fell to 4th in his Audi. Robin Frijns (Audi) and DTM-rookie Dennis (R-Motorsport) secured the third row.
Sheldon van der Linde recorded the 7th fastest time in his first outing in the DTM, ahead of the experienced Timo Glock (BMW). Fellow BMW racer Joel Ericsson suffered from balance issues on his way to 9th, but was quick enough to pip Nico Muller (Audi, 10th).
Outside the tip ten, Dani Juncadella (R-Motorsport) and Loïc Duval (Audi) completed the sixth row, ahead of Jamie Green (Audi, 13th), Bruno Spengler (BMW, 14th). Pietro Fittipaldi took 15th on his debut DTM weekend for WRT-Audi, but only after his earlier time was deleted due to exceeded track limits. His teammate Jonathan Aberdein ended the morning 16th, ahead of the final DTM rookie, Ferdinand Zvonimir Maria Balthus Keith Michael Otto Antal Bahnam Leonhard von Habsburg-Lothringen (R-Motorsport, 17th).
BMW racer Philipp did not set a time. His M4 stopped at the exit of the pitlane on his outlap at the beginning of the session, bringing out a brief red flag. This follows his loss of FP2 yesterday, when his engine failed before he could set a lap.