In qualifying at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the Frenchman was fastest with his Audi RS 5 DTM and will be starting from first place on the grid for the first time in his DTM career on Sunday. The 23-year old completed the 4.574 kilometres long lap in 1:32.272 minutes and thus ended up ahead of BMW drivers Marco Wittmann and Bruno Spengler, who were second and third respectively.
“I finally made it,” Tambay said after his pole-winning drive. “As always in the DTM, it was incredibly close. It was almost over for me after the first qualifying heat and eventually, I got pole position – incredible. I am really happy that it finally worked out. The mechanics have been working really hard. There wouldn’t have been a better way for me to thank them than by claiming pole position. I am overjoyed.”
Marco Wittmann, who will be starting the race with his BMW M4 DTM alongside the Frenchman from the front row of the grid, was also happy with his qualifying result. “A great start into the new season. Audi and BMW were very closely together. I expect a close fight for victory. The race is long and we are confident,” Wittmann said. His fellow BMW driver, Bruno Spengler, will be starting from third place on the grid. The best-placed driver of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, Gary Paffett, ended up in 15th place. Defending champion Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) will be starting from eleventh position into his first DTM race with starting number 1. “Of course, I had expected a little bit more, but this is the DTM, where no presents are given,” Rockenfeller commented.
Rookie driver António Félix da Costa (BMW) showed an impressive performance. The best of the four novices in the field, the 22-year old Portuguese made it into the third qualifying heat and will be starting the first race of the season from fourth place. “I don’t know whether I had expected this,” the BMW driver said. “From the very moment I put my helmet on, I always want to give my best. The fast that it was enough for fourth place is just great.” Initially, Félix da Costa was even in third place. Then, however, the race director declared the BMW driver’s best lap void, because the latter had exceeded the track limits during this lap.
Gary Paffett has to make up ground in the race after the Brit retired in the second of three qualifying heats. “I tried my best, but unfortunately, that was all I could do. We had some issues and lost too much time in some sections. For the race, our goal is to reduce the gap to the front,” Paffett said. For DTM returnee Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-Benz), qualifying was also disappointing. The 2010 champion only ended up in 19th place. “Unfortunately, I had traffic in front of me when I was out with fresh tyres. I hope that we can do better on a distance,” the Brit commented. His fellow Mercedes-Benz driver and series novice Vitaly Petrov had to make do with 23rd place on the grid. The other rookie drivers Nico Müller (Audi) and Maxime Martin (BMW) did better with 13th and 14th place respectively.