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Farfus heads final DTM practice for BMW

Saturday, May 19 2012

Augusto Farfus put BMW back to the top of the timesheets in the second DTM practice session today (Saturday), ahead of the crucial qualifying session for tomorrow's race. Audi's Mattias Ekstrom restored pride for the Ingolstadt marque, with Tomczyk's BMW heading the first Mercedes, of championship leader Gary Paffett.

The BMWs were first to get up to speed in the second part of the Saturday practice session, with Ralf Schumacher joining the party to trade times with Joey Hand. Augusto Farfus then topped the times, with a lap that was just a tenth off Paffett's earlier benchmark, as attention turned toward today's qualifying session. On the subject of Paffett, his initial efforts were spoiled by a trip across the grass at Surtees, which necessitated a quick clean-up in the garage.

With Farfus now under Paffett's time, Martin Tomczyk was keen to ensure his BMW team mates were not grabbing all of the attention from the reigning champion, and he took a further two tenths from the Brazilian.

With many drivers pitting mid-session once more, Audi's drivers came to the fore, with Mike Rockenfeller starring initially, however the Le Mans winner's time, good enough for second, was beaten by Filipe Albuquerque in the Team Rosberg A5, before Timo Scheider trumped both in the Abt machine. Tomczyk still remained a tenth ahead, though.

With two-thirds of the session done, Paffett finally got it together to head the table, by the slenderest of margins, however with a second covering 21 cars, it would be tough to beat and sure enough, attention turned back to the garages.

With many of BMW's drivers having dropped down the order, Farfus put the Munich marque back on top when the cars returned to the track. Paffett tried hard to reassert himself, as Miguel Molina ensured all three manufacturers were in the top three as the session entered its final five minutes - the last chance to set up the cars before qualifying.

Farfus pitted with a couple of minutes left, his morning's work done and with Paffett unable to respond, he too sat out the final laps, satisfied with his progress. The times were over half a second up on last year's cars. Gaining right at the end, however, was Mattias Ekstrom, second fastest on his last lap. Tomczyk too improved, leaving Paffett fourth, from Molina, Scheider and Mortara's Audis. Jamie Green ended the morning ninth, from Rockenfeller and Tambay - the large Audi presence in the top ten giving them hope for a good qualifying session, which starts at 12:40 today.

DTM Practice 2 part 2
1. Augusto Farfus, BRA, RBM BMW, 41.312s
2. Mattias Ekström, SWE, Abt Audi, +0.035s
3. Martin Tomczyk, GER, RMG BMW, +0.051s
4. Gary Paffett, GBR, HWA Mercedes, +0.074s
5. Miguel Molina, ESP, Phoenix Audi, +0.083s
6. Timo Scheider, GER, Abt Audi, +0.126s
7. Edoardo Mortara, ITA, Rosberg Audi, +0.135s
8. Jamie Green, GBR, HWA Mercedes, +0.164s
9. Mike Rockenfeller, GER, Phoenix Audi, +0.199s
10. Adrien Tambay, FRA, Abt Audi, +0.221s

Tickets for the DTM at Brands Hatch this weekend (19-20 May) are available on the gate for £15 on Saturday and £35 on Sunday, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.