Assen DTM: Lawson pips Wittmann to Saturday pole

Red Bull Formula 1 protege Liam Lawson claimed his second pole position of the 2021 DTM season at Assen, edging Marco Wittmann's Walkenhorst BMW by 0.016s in Saturday qualifying.

Assen DTM: Lawson pips Wittmann to Saturday pole

AF Corse Ferrari driver Lawson set the first benchmark of the session with a 1m32.584s, before Maximilian Gotz posted a 1m32.563s in the HRT Mercedes to snatch the top spot away from the Kiwi.

Lawson though responded with a 1m32.168s that proved to be just enough to claim a second pole in the last three qualifying sessions, with none of his rivals able to match his time on their second runs.

The 19-year-old looked set to go even quicker on his final flyer, setting purple times in sectors 1 and 2, before aborting the lap when it was clear his previous time would be good enough.

Two-time DTM champion Wittmann was Lawson's closest challenger in the venerable M6, lapping just 0.016s slower to secure a spot on the front row.

Gotz eventually ended up third-quickest after failing to match Lawson in the second run, finishing 0.121s off the pace.

Philip Ellis was fourth for Team Winward, another 0.027s adrift of Mercedes stablemate Gotz, while championship leader Kelvin van der Linde qualified as the top Audi driver in fifth.

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The Abt Sportsline driver banged wheels with Ellis on his outlap, forcing him to come to the pits for a fresh rear-left tyre with just two minutes left in the session.

The 2020 DTM runner-up Nico Muller enjoyed improved fortunes after a difficult run of races in the lead Team Rosberg Audi, securing his best starting position since Zolder in sixth.

Nico Müller, Team Rosberg, Audi R8 LMS GT3

Nico Müller, Team Rosberg, Audi R8 LMS GT3

Photo by: Gruppe C GmbH

Seventh place went to Vincent Abril in the second of the HRT Mercedes, ahead of Sheldon van der Linde in the Rowe Racing BMW.

The top 10 was rounded out by Mercedes drivers Arjun Maini (GetSpeed) and Maximilian Buhk (Mucke Motorsport).

Several drivers lost their best laps to track limits infringement right at the end of the session, dropping to the second half of the grid.

Ex-F1 driver Christian Klien had originally qualified fifth on his final race weekend with the JP Motorsport McLaren team, but was eventually demoted to 16th place. Lawson's team-mate Alex Albon likewise dropped from sixth to 14th, while factory Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti slipped to 12th in the final classification on his series debut.

Bortolotti, however, did beat T3 Motorsport team regulars Esteban Muth and Esmee Hawkey, who finished only 18th and 20th.

Qualifying was red flagged with under six minutes left on the clock when Dev Gore crashed at the exit of Turn 7, suffering damage to the right-rear side of his Team Rosberg Audi.

Qualifying results:

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'32.186  
2 11 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 1'32.202 0.016
3 4 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.323 0.137
4 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.350 0.164
5 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'32.444 0.258
6 51 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'32.487 0.301
7 5 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.553 0.367
8 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 1'32.561 0.375
9 36 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.598 0.412
10 18 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.651 0.465
11 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.663 0.477
12 63 Italy Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'32.700 0.514
13 22 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.720 0.534
14 23 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'32.740 0.554
15 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'32.865 0.679
16 15 Austria Christian Klien McLaren 720S GT3 1'32.879 0.693
17 16 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 1'33.157 0.971
18 10 Belgium Esteban Muth BMW M6 GT3 1'33.398 1.212
19 99 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'33.450 1.264
20 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'33.772 1.586
21 12 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'33.914 1.728
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