Italian on top in qualifying at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, AustriaDTM points’ leader Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) to start second into Sunday’s raceVentus Race slicks of the DTM’s exclusive tyre partner Hankook convince with high grip levelA premiere for Edoardo Mortara. On Saturday, the Audi driver came out on top in qualifying in Spielberg, Austria and thus claimed his maiden pole position in his second year in the DTM. Points’leader Gary Paffett ended up 0.121 seconds behind the Italian and will be starting from second place into Sunday’s race. Mattias Ekström (Audi) came third. Thus, the Swede again has good chances of a podium finish at the Red Bull Ring following a pair of eighth places in qualifying at Lausitzring and Brands Hatch.In fourth position, reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk was the best-placed BMW driver. His fellow BMW driver Bruno Spengler, who is second in the drivers’standings of the most popular international touring car series, will be starting from sixth place into Sunday’s race.
As ever during the season so far, the Hankook competition tyre also was fast and reliable in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring as well. “In free practice, we had hardly any wear on our Ventus Race tyres. In the long runs of more than 40 laps, fastest times could even be set at the very end”, says Hankook’s race engineer Michael Eckert. At the mainly bright track surface, that didn’t warm up as much as the darker asphalt on the main straight, the Hankook tyre convinced in all four qualifying heats with its usual high grip level.Edoardo Mortara (Audi):“I am happy with our performance, we were very quick in all four qualifying heats. We have thoroughly analysed the tyres and got them to work perfectly. Starting from pole position is very nice. But on Sunday, that doesn’t count anymore. I want to win the race.”Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz): “The balance of the car was very good. The surface at Spielberg is different than at the tracks we have raced on so far. There, the tyres provided grip right away on the first lap. Here, at the Red Bull Ring, they did so in the second or third lap. But once again, they worked well.”Mattias Ekström (Audi):“I am very happy with qualifying. The asphalt at Spielberg is very smooth and not aggressive, the cars in general tend to slide a little bit. We have found an optimal set-up for that. In every race, I have the feeling that we can get the maximum out of the Hankook tyres.”Martin Tomczyk (BMW): “During qualifying, the grip level of the track increased steadily and the tyres worked better and better. In Q4, I made a slight mistake in the first corner. The team performance by BMW was very good. A podium finish is the goal for tomorrow’s race.”