In Sunday’s closing race of the 2012 DTM season (shown live on ARD from 13:45 CET), current championship leader Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) will be starting from second place on the grid. In the Q4 shootout, Paffett set a time of 1:34,261 minutes. Starting from pole position will be Augusto Farfus (BMW / 1:34.140).
Gary Paffett leads the standings going into the final race of the season, three points ahead of Bruno Spengler (BMW). Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), currently third in the table and 18 points adrift, still has a mathematical chance of claiming the title. Green, who won the closing race of the 2011 season at Hockenheim, posted a time of 1:34.251 and starts Sunday’s race from tenth on the grid.
For the eighth time in the ten races staged this season, a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé will be starting from the front row. There were front row lockouts at Brands Hatch and in Nuremberg achieved by Paffett and Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé) and by Paffett and Green respectively. In the history of the DTM, Mercedes-Benz has qualified for the front row in 223 out of 353 races since 1988. In seven out of the last nine home races at Hockenheim, a Mercedes-Benz driver has started from the front row.
Qualifying Part 1: Championship leader Gary Paffett posted the fastest time – 1:33.964 – in Q1. Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, 17th) missed progressing to Q2 by just six thousandths of a second. Schumacher achieved a time of 1:34.722 minutes, one thousandth of a second faster than Robert Wickens (stern AMG Mercedes C-Coupé / 1:34.723) in P18. Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupe / 1:35.023) was 19th. David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:35.275) will be in P21 and Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé / 1:35.325) in 22nd place on the grid in their final DTM race. Seven and a half tenths of a second covered positions one to 16.
Qualifying Part 2: Gary Paffett again secured the fastest time – 1:33.823 – in the second part of qualifying. Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé / 1:34.358) will start from position 13 on the grid in the last race of the season. The Top 14 in Q2 were within half a second of one another.
Comments on qualifying:
Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Second (1:34.261):
“Pole position was my goal, but still, I’m on the front row of the grid and so feel very relaxed about the last race of the season tomorrow. All the hard work on the car has paid off. My THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was brilliant in all the sessions and I’ve really enjoyed racing at this track. Now I’m looking forward to an exciting and fair season finale. I’ve already won four races at Hockenheim and secured seven podium finishes, so I’m extremely optimistic about this last race of the season.”
Jamie Green (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), Tenth (1:34.251):
“Tenth place is not brilliant in terms of my championship chances, but unfortunately, I was just not quick enough. My lap times in Q1 and Q2 were not bad, but the tyres lacked grip in Q3. But I’m still in with a chance – even in the title fight – starting from tenth place in tomorrow’s race. If I can make it safely through the first turn, then I can achieve a decent result, even from P10.”
Christian Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Coupé), 13th (1:34.358):
“At first glance, 13th on the grid doesn’t look too good, but I started from 15th in this year’s season opener here at Hockenheim and finished fourth in the race. So tomorrow, there’s everything to play for. I can improve my position with a good start and the appropriate strategy, and I’ll do my level best.”
Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 17th (1:34.722):
“I missed progressing to the second qualifying session today by only six thousandths of a second. That’s disappointing, because I had intended doing more at Hockenheim, a track that I know very well. But tomorrow is a new day and a lot can happen in the race.”
Robert Wickens (stern Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 18th (1:34.723):
“I’m disappointed with P18 on the grid, even though today’s qualifying was extremely tight. The gap between Ralf and myself was just one thousandth of a second. I missed P16 in Q1 and going through to Q2 by only seven thousandths of a second. That’s a blink of the eye. I hope I have better luck in the race tomorrow and can move up the field.”
Roberto Merhi (Junge Sterne Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 19th (1:35.023):
“I had, of course, reckoned on doing better than 19th place on the grid in the final qualifying session of the season. I posted a satisfactory time on the first set of tyres, but unfortunately, I couldn’t improve my position on the second set. The balance of the car was different and I was not able to push as hard as before.”
David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 21st (1:35.275):
“P21 on the grid is a disappointing result for my last qualifying in the DTM, but today has once again shown how tight it is in the DTM. Only the slightest mistake and you fail to make it through to the next segment. Tomorrow is my last DTM race and I will do my utmost to achieve a decent result for the fans and bow out in style.”
Susie Wolff (TV Spielfilm Mercedes AMG C-Coupé), 22nd (1:35.325):
“It’s strange knowing that today is my last qualifying in the DTM. I wish I had been able to secure a better grid position for the fans, but I’ve really enjoyed driving here today. I’ve had a great time in the DTM during the past seven years and am looking forward to my last race, where I will once again do my absolute best.”
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Qualifying was a real four-part thriller – Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 – and so far, it has gone Gary’s way – he is on the front row of the grid.”
Pictures: MBpassion.de / Text: Mercedes AMG