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Wittmann tops nail-biting Brands Hatch DTM qualifying

Saturday, August 10 2019

Marco Wittmann surged to the top of the standings late on in his BMW M4 to wrest pole position from championship leader Rene Rast in qualifying for the opening DTM race of the weekend at Brands Hatch, which takes place later today (Saturday).

Wittmann pinched pole position from Audi title rival Rast as the session built towards a pulsating crescendo with drying on-circuit conditions, his final effort of 1m15.654s enough to secure the best slot on the grid by just 0.069s.

This was very much a session of two halves with Philipp Eng holding provisional position early on before off-track excursions for the two WRT-run Audis brought the red flag out. Pietro Fittipaldi dramatically went off at Paddock Hill Bend with 14 minutes remaining, whilst his team mate Jonathan Aberdein had a separate accident to bring the sesion to a halt.

As the session resumed, a much clearer dry line emerged and it was the R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage machines which first switched to slick tyres in pursuit of an advantage. 

Jake Dennis in particular spearheaded the Aston Martin charge, and he lapped the GP circuit more than a second faster than his rivals at times, before engaging in a thrilling fight at the front with Audi's British star Jamie Green.

As the track dried, the Rast shot to the top with the fastest laps of the weekend until that point, and he was the first driver to dip beneath the 1m16s barrier as the lap times tumbled. As the pace quickened, the early slick runners like Dennis and Green slid town the order to eventual seventh and 13th place finishes.

Rast appeared to have pole position in the bag, only for Wittmann to deny him with a superb effort with only seconds left on the clock. By this point, Rast was slowing down to head back to the pits and thus unable to respond.

Audi's Loic Duval completed the top-three, just three tenths shy of Wittman's pole time, just one place ahead of Paul di Resta who ended up as the leading Aston Martin. Free practice pace-setter Robin Frijns completed the top-five. 

Result

1, M Wittmann, Team BMW RMG, Schaeffler BMW M4 DTM, 1m15.654s
2, R Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS5 DTM, +0.069s
3, L Duval, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, MASCOT WORKWEAR Audi RS5 DTM, +0.358s
4, P Di Resta, R-Motorsport 1, Aston Martin Vantage DTM, +0.413s
5, R Frijns, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Aral Ultimate Audi RS5 DTM, +0.595s
6, S Van der Linde, BMW Team RBM, Shell BMW M4 DTM, +0.650s
7, J Dennis, R-Motorsport 1, Aston Martin Vantage DTM, +0.688s
8, N Muller, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, Castrol EDGE Audi RS5 DTM, +0.711s
9, T Glock, BMW Team RMR, JiVS BMW M4 DTM, +0.730s
10, D Juncadella, R-Motorsport 2, Aston Martin Vantage DTM, +0.879s
11, P Eng, BMW Team RMR, ZF BMW M4 DTM, +0.887s
12, M Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Akrapovic Audi RS5 DTM, +0.946s
13, J Green, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Hoffmann Group Audi RS5 DTM, +1.021s
14, B Spengler, BMW Team RMG, BMW Bank M4 DTM, +1.433s
15, J Eriksson, BMW Team RBM, CATL BMW M4 DTM, +1.835s
16, F von Habsburg, R-Motorsport 2, Aston Martin Vantage DTM, +1.856s
17, P Fittipaldi, WRT Team Audi Sport, WRT Audi RS5 DTM, +11.736s
18, J Aberdein, WRT Team Audi Sport, WRT Audi RS5 DTM, +14.461s