Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) will start tomorrow’s race at Spielberg from second on the grid.

The Englishman posted a time of 1:26.292 minutes in the fourth and final segment of qualifying. Pole position went to Edoardo Mortara (Audi) with a time of 1:26.171.

Following the Mercedes-Benz one-two in qualifying at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago, Paffett starts from the front row for the second race in succession in 2012. In the history of the DTM, Mercedes-Benz drivers have claimed 219 front row positions. Paffett’s P2 start on Sunday makes it four front-row starts for Mercedes-Benz in four races in the 2012 season.

Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:26.022) and Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:26.340) will be in positions seven and ten respectively on the grid at the fourth race of the season in Spielberg. Just half a second covered the ten top drivers in Q3.

Qualifying 1: Jamie Green secured the fastest time of 1:25.850 minutes in the first qualifying segment. Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:26.605), Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:26.725), Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:26.914) and David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:27.117) will be in places 17, 19, 20 and 22 respectively on the grid.

Qualifying 2: Gary Paffett set the fastest lap in Q2 with a time of 1:25.784 minutes. Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé / 1:26.320) starts from 14th on tomorrow’s grid in the fourth race of the season. Just half a second separated P1 from P14, while the top five all came within a tenth of each other.

Comments on qualifying:
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Second (1:26.292):
„Qualifying second is a super result as far as I’m concerned. Obviously, every driver out there wants to be first all the time, but in a starting field as tight as this, it’s a major achievement just to get into the top four. I didn’t make a single mistake on my lap in Q4, but at the same time, I was determined not to take any risks. Although I didn’t manage to take pole like I did at Brands Hatch, the race is still completely open.“

Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Seventh (1:26.022):
„Seventh on the grid isn’t exactly what I was aiming for in qualifying. My lap times in Q1 and Q2 were very good, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to carry the level of speed through to the third part of the session. My Mercedes AMG C-Coupé has been really fast here for most of this weekend, so I’m feeling optimistic about the race. I hope that I can extract full performance out of the car tomorrow and get a decent result.“

Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Tenth (1:26.340):
„Tenth place on the grid is not brilliant, it could’ve been a whole lot better, but at least I’m in the top ten so not too bad for Sunday’s race. This weekend has not gone quite the way I had wanted but we will have had chance to carefully study the data by tomorrow, and we intend extracting the maximum out of the car in the race.“

Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé), 14th (1:26.320):
„After a very good qualifying session at the last race in Brands Hatch and a place on the front row for the first time, I had, of course, expected much more than 14th position in Spielberg. Now we’ll have to analyse what went wrong and do better tomorrow. The whole weekend so far has been anything but perfect, however, as we well know, the points are awarded in the race itself.“

Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 17th (1:26.605):
„I wasn’t all that far down the field and narrowly missed going through to Q2 by a whisker – 0.039 seconds. My car felt very good, but unfortunately I was stuck in traffic on my last flying lap. That slowed me up quite a bit and cost me a lot of time. Too bad, but I’ll be on the attack on Sunday, make no mistake!“

Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 19th (1:26.725):
„Unfortunately, I did not progress through to the second qualifying session. During my final flying lap, I made a small mistake on the last sector, otherwise Q2 might have been a possibility. I don’t feel too good today but I don’t think it affected my lap time. I intend going all-out in the race, though.“

Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 20th (1:26.914):
„Unfortunately, I can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong in qualifying. The team got the perfect setup for the session, and the balance was excellent. I felt good about the way the car was handling and didn’t make any major errors. I suppose it just wasn’t to be. In the race, I’ll be giving it all I’ve got, as usual.“

David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 22nd (1:27.117):
„Of course, I thought qualifying in Spielberg would be very different. Unfortunately, it just did not go my way and I couldn’t secure a better time. I like the circuit a lot and last year I did pretty well here – I even posted the second fastest race lap. So I know what’s what and intend to do the business tomorrow and move up the field as far as possible.“

Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
„Gary was perfect again. Starting from the front row is always an advantage, particularly when all your immediate challengers in the points table are behind you on the grid.

It’s a very good position to be in at the start of the race, nothing more, but that’s because I think there are nearly a dozen potential winners, and dealing with the Hankook tyres over the exceptionally long distance here in Spielberg is just as important as a properly selected and properly implemented strategy.

The degree of balance between the three manufacturers here in Spielberg, as in the three previous races, goes without saying: three Audis, three Mercedes and four BMW make up the top ten on the grid.

The extra-long DTM distance tomorrow, 47 laps and 203.22 kilometres instead of the 38 last year, making it the longest DTM race of all time, mean that we’re in for a hot event tomorrow in Spielberg.“

Pictures: MBpassion / Text: Mercedes AMG