Mike Rockenfeller took his second DTM pole position of the year as qualifying at Moscow Raceway was halted for the most bizarre of reasons.
Championship leader Rockenfeller had set the pace in the third of four scheduled parts of qualifying in his Phoenix Audi, and was set to be joined in Q4 by Mattias Ekstrom, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler. However, shortly before Q4 was due to start, the airspace above the circuit was closed due to the imminent flypast of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s private jet. This meant the track’s medical helicopter would have been unable to take off should anybody have needed it during the single-lap pole shootout.
With a two-hour closure on airspace announced, race officials decided to cancel Q4 and instead set the front two rows of the grid based on the times set in Q3. Behind the top four came Jamie Green, Q2 pace-setter Dirk Werner, Gary Paffett and Pascal Wehrlein.
Wehrlein had initially gone out in Q2 with the 13th-fastest time, but a glitch with the timing system was rapidly discovered, meaning that the German was given his actual time, good enough for eighth and a spot in Q3, just as that part of qualifying was getting underway.
Timo Glock failed to make it into Q2, the German questioning whether Miguel Molina one place ahead of him on the times had deliberately held him up during the final minutes.
Norisring runner-up Robert Wickens also failed to make it out of Q1 while his HWA teammate Roberto Merhi spun off and clipped the barrier during the final minutes on his way to the last spot on the grid.