Moscow DTM: Wittmann tops qualifying, Rast on pole

Reigning DTM champion Marco Wittmann topped Saturday's qualifying session at Moscow Raceway, but his five-place grid penalty meant rookie Rene Rast claimed pole position.

Moscow DTM: Wittmann tops qualifying, Rast on pole
Mike Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
2017 DTM Round 5 Moscow Raceway, Moscow, Russia Friday 21 July 2017. Marco Wittmann, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM
Marco Wittmann, BMW Team RMG, BMW M4 DTM
Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Bruno Spengler, BMW Team RBM, BMW M4 DTM
Mike Rockenfeller, Audi Sport Team Phoenix, Audi RS 5 DTM
Jamie Green, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM

BMW driver Wittmann, who sits 10th in the DTM standings and has yet to win a race this year, has two Moscow poles to his name and was again the standout over one lap in this session.

But a five-place grid penalty, assessed after Wittmann had picked up his third reprimand of the season at the Norisring, gave Audi driver Rast pole instead.

Rast, who had set the best lap in practice earlier on Saturday, was the first driver to surpass that benchmark – and did it in some style, his 1m27.179s effort representing an improvement of more than four tenths.

Championship leader Mattias Ekstrom made it an Audi 1-2 shortly thereafter, but the pair were then split by BMW duo Augusto Farfus and Timo Glock.

And at the halfway point in the session, it was the Bavarian marque that held the top spot, courtesy of Wittmann.

Nobody came close to matching the leading duo in the second half of the session, and while Rast himself was up on Wittmann's lap in the opening sector, he eventually found himself just a few thousandths on his previous best effort.

With Wittmann's penalty dropping him to sixth, Rast will be joined on the front row by fellow Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller, whose participation this weekend was in doubt after he sustained a fracture in his left foot in a heavy crash with Gary Paffett at the Norisring.

Rockenfeller could be seen limping around the paddock and using crutches, with McLaren F1 junior Nyck de Vries having been called up to be on stand-by, but the German had recovered enough to compete - and finished the session just two tenths off Wittmann.

Farfus and Glock will be on row two for BMW, ahead of Ekstrom, Wittmann, Jamie Green's Audi and Tom Blomqvist's BMW.

Mercedes' top driver Gary Paffett led Audi's Loic Duval in ninth, as the Silver Arrows endured a torrid qualifying session, their C63 DTM currently heaviest on the grid due to performance weights.

Duval will have to start 15th as he, like Wittmann, is serving a five-place grid penalty for having accumulated three warnings.

Among the Mercedes roster, Lucas Auer - who is just two points off Ekstrom in the standings - will only start 13th, while Edoardo Mortara ended his session with an off, placing 17th.

Qualifying results:

ClaDriverCarTimeGap
1 germany René Rast  Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.155 0.120
2 germany Mike Rockenfeller  Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.253 0.218
3 brazil Augusto Farfus  BMW M4 DTM 1'27.340 0.305
4 germany Timo Glock  BMW M4 DTM 1'27.376 0.341
5 sweden Mattias Ekström  Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.393 0.358
6 germany Marco Wittmann * BMW M4 DTM 1'27.035  
7 united_kingdom Jamie Green  Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.450 0.415
8 united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist  BMW M4 DTM 1'27.467 0.432
9 united_kingdom Gary Paffett  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'27.538 0.503
10 canada Bruno Spengler  BMW M4 DTM 1'27.612 0.577
11 canada Robert Wickens  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'27.625 0.590
12 switzerland Nico Müller  Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.734 0.699
13 austria Lucas Auer  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'27.757 0.722
14 belgium Maxime Martin  BMW M4 DTM 1'27.786 0.751
15 france Loic Duval * Audi RS5 DTM 1'27.541 0.506
16 united_kingdom Paul di Resta  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'28.057 1.022
17 italy Edoardo Mortara  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'28.134 1.099
18 germany Maro Engel  Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM 1'28.382 1.347

* denotes five-place grid penalty

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