Rain stops DTM qualifying - pole for Kristensen
26 July 2008 – Qualifying for the seventh season round of the DTM on Saturday evening was stopped early after torrential rain. After the first of three sessions had been completed, the second heat had to be interrupted following an accident by Mike Rockenfeller. Because of the continuing heavy rain, the clerk of the course decided not to continue qualifying for safety reasons. According to article 48.5 of the sporting regulations of the DTM 2008, the result of the first qualifying heat is now the basis for the starting grid positions for the race on Sunday.
Based on this result, Danish Audi driver Tom Kristensen will be starting from pole position for the 43 laps' race. His time for the 3.629 kilometres was 1.38.346 minutes. "Indeed, it is a little bit strange to be on pole after such a qualifying. But that is what the rules are like", Kristensen said after the sixth DTM pole of his career. Surprising second is his fellow Audi driver with a year-old car, Mike Rockenfeller, who scored his best DTM qualifying result to date at Oschersleben in 2007, where he also was second on the grid.
Martin Tomczyk set the third fastest time. The pole-sitter and winner from last year at this venue completed the Audi trio in front. Brit Gary Paffett was the best-placed Mercedes-Benz driver in fourth place with his year-old car, followed by the Swedish winner from Zandvoort, Audi's Mattias Ekström. Behind sixth-placed Bernd Schneider (D/Mercedes-Benz), Ralf Schumacher celebrated his best DTM qualifying result to date in seventh place with his AMG Mercedes C-Class. Points' leader Timo Scheider will be starting ninth into Sunday's race behind Maro Engel (D/Mercedes-Benz). British drivers Jamie Green and Paul di Resta (both Mercedes-Benz) are third and fourth in the points' standings behind Scheider and Ekström. Di Resta will be starting twelfth on Sunday, Green is 13th. The most prominent "victim" of the difficult conditions was Canadian Bruno Spengler. The Mercedes-Benz driver ended up 16th in qualifying.
Before the race on Sunday, Scheider is leading in the DTM points' standings with 40 points from Ekström (35) and Green (34). Because of the TV broadcast of the Tour de France, the race will start on Sunday at 17.30 h.
Tom Kristensen commented: "Indeed, it is a little bit strange to be on pole after such a qualifying. But that is what the rules are like. I wouldn't mind either to go out again and finish qualifying."