Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) is the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in qualifying for tomorrow’s race at the Hockenheimring.
The winner of the 2011 grand finale at Hockenheim starts from second on tomorrow’s grid at the same race venue. Green posted a time of 1:34.895 minutes to qualify alongside pole-sitter Mattias Ekström (Audi / 1:34.680). The opening race of the 2012 season sees a Mercedes-Benz driver claim a place on the front row of the grid for the 215th time since 1988.
The new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé has also booked a place on Row 1 in its very first race. The C-Coupé is the successor to the AMG Mercedes C-Class which, with 85 victories from 159 races, is the most successful car in DTM history.
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) secured sixth fastest time – 1:34.287 minutes – in the first qualifying session of the new DTM season. He starts the season opener from row three on Sunday.
Qualifying 1: Ralf Schumacher secured the best time of the eight Mercedes-Benz drivers in the first qualifying session – 1:34.550 minutes. Just a single second covered positions one to twenty in Q1. Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:34.932), DTM rookie Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:35.167) and Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:35.776) will be in positions 18, 20 and 21 respectively on the grid for the first race of the season.
Qualifying 2: Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:34.390) will start the opening race of the new DTM-era on Sunday from position eleven on the grid. Canadian DTM rookie Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:34.538) and Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé / 1:34.783) will be in positions 13 and 15 respectively for the start of the race. Just eight-tenths of a second separated P1 and P15 in Q2.
Comments on qualifying:
Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Second (1:34,895):
„A respectable start to the new season. Obviously, I would prefer to be going into the new DTM era in pole position, but I’m also very satisfied with a place on the front row. Qualifying was a close-fought encounter and I was hard pushed to get into Q4. My Mercedes AMG C-Coupé handles like a dream, and it’s great fun taking the development one step further with every outing. Today, we showed that the car is fast, and I’m sure that we are in with a good chance in tomorrow’s race. I’ve been a part of the Mercedes-Benz DTM family for quite a few years now, and it’s fascinating to watch this race series carry on growing and developing.“
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Sixth (1:34,287):
„Sixth on the grid isn’t too bad, but obviously I would rather be starting from nearer the front. Our THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé is performing very well on this first race weekend of the season. It looks very tight, with all three constructors apparently well matched, so it promises to be a very interesting season. We are in for an exciting race tomorrow, and I’m really up for it. Our car is fast and I’m aiming to do even better tomorrow.“
Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Eleventh (1:34,390):
„We will see for the first time this weekend how the teams compare in the new DTM-era. In the free practice sessions, things didn’t go brilliantly for me, but I’m pleased that we improved from session to session. It should certainly be an exciting season opener on Sunday. Overtaking in the new car will be even easier this year than was the case in the past – so there’s still everything to play for.“
Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 13th (1:34,538):
„P13 is a decent start position for me in the DTM, but I always set myself high goals and I know that there is still a lot of potential for improvement. The team has prepared my stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé very well and I’m looking forward to my first DTM race on Sunday. Hopefully, I can then do even better.“
Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé), 15th (1:34,783):
„For the whole of the weekend, I’ve had good speed in my C-Coupé, but I wasn’t able to get the full benefit it qualifying. Unfortunately, I made an error that probably cost me a place in the Top Ten. Now I have to wait and see how my closest rivals line up in the race and then go flat out on Sunday to get a decent result at the start of the new season.“
David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 18th (1:34,932):
„We have a brand new car and so I didn’t have any great expectations for this opening weekend here in Hockenheim. Of course, I’m not satisfied with my qualifying result, but we’ve learned a lot about the new vehicle and now want to improve our performance bit by bit. Hopefully, we can put on a good show for the spectators in the race.“
Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 20th (1:35,167):
„Temperatures were very different in qualifying just now, compared to Friday’s practice sessions. I didn’t find it all that easy to quickly adapt to the change, nor was I totally satisfied with the car’s setup. We’re still working on it. Now I’m hoping for a decent result in my first DTM race.“
Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 21st (1:35,776):
„Of course, I’m not satisfied with 21st place on the grid. I was hoping for a much better result in the first qualifying session of the new DTM season. The car has a lot of potential that we must tease out. It won’t be easy in the race to move up to the front of the field, but I will do my best.“
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
„What a fantastic start to the 2012 DTM season. Pole position was there for the taking, as Jamie Green showed by posting the best time in Q3. After a braking error in Sector 1, he retook the lead once again in the middle sector by the smallest margin possible, just one thousandth of a second, but then, at the Motodrom, things didn’t quite work out. So it just remains for me to offer my congratulations to Mattias Ekström and to Abt-Audi on claiming pole.
There’s not much separating the three manufacturers. It’s a wonderful thing for the fans that the new generation of DTM coupés from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are so very closely matched. I want to express our thanks to everyone from ITR, Audi and BMW for their cooperation in building such strong foundations on which to base a brilliant future for the DTM.
On the first day of competition for the new generation of DTM cars, I would also like to thank in particular all our team members, who have worked so hard to get the new cars up and running. We have put in a lot of hard work and effort to get this far and now’s the time to reap the rewards. Hopefully, we will do exactly that tomorrow.“
Text: Mercedes AMG / Pictures: MBPassion