Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) will begin the ninth race of the 2011 DTM season in Valencia on Sunday (start: 13:00 BST, from 12:45 BST live on ARD television) as the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in third position on the grid. The DTM rookie posted a 1:31.173 minutes in the shoot-out at the end of qualifying. Mattias Ekström (Audi / 1:30.608 minutes) will be on pole.

David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class / 1:31.338 minutes) will be in fourth place on the grid at his 20th DTM race on Sunday, meaning he’s improved his best DTM qualifying result so far – Shanghai 2010 – by two places.

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class / 1:30.297 minutes) will be in ninth place on the grid for the start of the penultimate race of the season. Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class / 1:30.602 minutes) and Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class / 1:30.621 minutes) will be in P11 and P12. Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) posted a 1:30.304, the tenth best time of the third segment of qualifying, but because of a place penalty handed down at the last race in Oschersleben, he will be in P13.
Qualifying Part 1: Gary Paffett was the best-placed C-Class driver in the first qualifying segment with a time of 1:30.052 minutes – third fastest. Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class / 1:30.583 minutes), Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class / 1:30.587 minutes) and Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class /1:30.739 minutes) finished 15th, 16th and 18th respectively. The gap between best time and 18th place was only eight and a half tenths of a second.

Qualifying Part 2: The second qualifying session was suspended after a spin by Edoardo Mortara (Audi). All the remaining drivers go through to the third part of qualifying.

Comments on qualifying:
Renger van der Zande (stern AMG Mercedes C-Class) – third (1:31.173):
“Getting into the fourth qualifying session is a marvellous result for me. I drove a great lap and the lap time speaks for itself – we found more grip as qualifying progressed, and raised our game compared to free practice. It was absolutely great to be driving among the leaders. Hopefully, I’ll soon be mixing it at the very front of the field much more often.”

David Coulthard (Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class) – fourth (1:31.338):
“The shoot-out at the end of qualifying was new for me, but what a great experience! It wasn’t altogether easy for me to adjust to it – it’s been some time since I had only one shot at qualifying. Naturally, I’m delighted with fourth place on the grid. From this position, a good race is a strong possibility.”

Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Cass) – ninth (1:30.297):
“It’s been extremely difficult here today, in this weather with these temperatures. My car was sliding around a lot during qualifying, and it wasn’t easy to post a perfect lap because of the tyres. Overall, it’s a disappointing result, because my speed was good. Unfortunately, I made a small error in Q3, and that cost me time.”

Jamie Green (AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 11th (1:30.602):
“This was obviously not a great qualifying session for me. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t quick enough to achieve a better result. The balance of my C-Class was fine, but on every lap I made a small mistake – and that cost me time. Eleventh place is disappointing, but that’s motor racing for you.”

Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class) – 12th (1:30.621):
“Qualifying didn’t go as I would have liked. I gave it my best shot, but unfortunately it just wasn’t possible to post a faster lap time. Now we’ll analyse this as a team to find out why. Tomorrow’s another day. In the race we’ll be trying to move up the field from the rear. I started twelfth in Spielberg earlier this season and managed to move up as far as fourth place – so tomorrow there’s everything left to play for.”

Ralf Schumacher (Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 13th (1:30.304):
“This wasn’t the result I’d expected. I’d wanted to mix it with the leading drivers here, but sadly that wasn’t possible today. The long-runs were promising at least, so let’s hope we’ll look better in the race tomorrow.”

Maro Engel (GQ AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 15th (1:30.583):
“15th on the grid is not great, especially since I came to Valencia with such high hopes. I‘ve been struggling with my car right through the weekend. The grip has been poor and the car has been really difficult to drive, so I didn’t manage to post a decent lap. I’ll give it all I’ve got in the race, but it certainly won’t be easy from this grid position.”

Christian Vietoris (Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 16th (1:30.587):
“I’d certainly aimed to do better, but I started the last race in Oschersleben from 17th place and still finished in the points. I’m hoping for a similar result in tomorrow’s race. Getting a good start, with perfect pit stops and the right strategy, that’s what’s important.”

Susie Stoddart (TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes C-Class) – 18th (1:30.739):
“18th, that’s not exactly brilliant as a result! I had hoped for more, but was plagued by oversteer otherwise I would have kept up with my team-mates. I will push as hard as I can in the race to try and move as far up the field as possible.”

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Renger and David ran well here today, putting their 2011 C-Class cars places on the second row of the grid. Martin Tomczyk in P11 wasn’t exactly strong, but unfortunately, we are unable to get Bruno away in front of Tomnzyk – we were just 68 thousandths of a second adrift. Tomorrow, we’ll try to move up the field, so that Bruno secures more points than Tomczyk.”

“Fifth and tenth place are separated by one tenth of a second, which shows once again how close racing is in the current DTM line up. The race tomorrow could be full of surprises and Bruno’s chances of clinching the championship after his bad luck with a shock absorber in the last race that cost him the lead in the standings are still very much alive.”

Source: Daimler AG