Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde takes dominant pole, Lawson third

Audi’s Kelvin van der Linde stormed to pole position in the first DTM qualifying at Hockenheim, beating Mercedes driver Lucas Auer and championship leader Liam Lawson's Ferrari to top spot.

Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde takes dominant pole, Lawson third

Having dropped from first to third in the standings after two tough weekends at the Red Bull Ring and Assen, the Abt Sportsline driver claimed pole position by almost half a second in Germany to put his championship challenge back on track.

Van der Linde was quickest in practice on Friday but sat second behind the Winward Mercedes of Auer after the first runs in qualifying, trailing the winner of Assen's second race by 0.149s.

After returning to track in the final minutes of the session, van der Linde unleashed the true pace of his Audi R8 LMS GT3, posting a time of 1m36.649s to go 0.483s quicker than Auer.

None of the remaining 19 drivers could get close to his van der Linde’s time or that of Auer’s after completing their final laps, securing the South African his first pole in the DTM since the Nurburgring in August.

Van der Linde’s pole margin was the biggest seen in any qualifying so far this year, and the three points he scored means he now sits just 13 points behind Lawson in the standings.

Red Bull junior Lawson qualified third behind Auer after improving to a 1m37.261s on his final flying lap in the AF Corse 488 GT3, having sat seventh mid-way through the session.

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Photo by: DTM

That time demoted the GruppeM Mercedes of Daniel Juncadella to the outside of the second row, ahead of fellow AMG GT3s of Arjun Maini (GetSpeed), championship contender Maximilian Gotz and Vincent Abril (both HRT).

Last year’s runner up Nico Muller enjoyed an improved showing in qualifying after a difficult middle part of the season in the Team Rosberg Audi, securing eighth spot on the grid with a time of 1m37.456s.

Lawson's team-mate Alex Albon clocked the ninth quickest time, while series debutante Marvin Dienst made it six cars from Mercedes’ stable inside the top 10 substituting at Mucke Motorsport for Maximilian Buhk - who is on ADAC GT Masters duty at the Sachsenring.

Two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann endured a difficult qualifying session as he finished over a second off the pace in 13th. The Walkenhorst BMW driver currently sits second in the standings, between Lawson and van der Linde.

In the first of his two DTM outings with Abt as a 'farewell gift' following its exit from Formula E, Lucas di Grassi qualified 18th on his series debut with a time of 1m38.355s, sandwiched between team-mates Mike Rockenfeller and Sophia Floersch.

Hockenheim DTM Race 1 Qualifying results:

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'36.649  
2 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'37.132 0.483
3 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'37.261 0.612
4 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'37.288 0.639
5 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'37.330 0.681
6 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'37.361 0.712
7 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'37.424 0.775
8 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'37.456 0.807
9 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'37.484 0.835
10 Germany Marvin Dienst Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'37.521 0.872
11 Belgium Esteban Muth BMW M6 GT3 1'37.569 0.920
12 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'37.786 1.137
13 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 1'37.874 1.225
14 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'38.010 1.361
15 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 1'38.067 1.418
16 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 1'38.078 1.429
17 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'38.213 1.564
18 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'38.355 1.706
19 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'38.438 1.789
20 Germany Hubert Haupt Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'38.520 1.871
21 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'38.628 1.979
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