Monza DTM: Abril on pole, Mercedes locks top four spots

The 2015 Blancpain GT Sprint Series champion Vincent Abril led a 1-2-3-4 for Mercedes in qualifying for the DTM's first race under its new GT3 rule set at Monza.

Monza DTM: Abril on pole, Mercedes locks top four spots

The lap times were significantly quicker than practice on Friday, with HRT Mercedes driver Maximilian Gotz going half a second quicker than Philip Ellis’ FP2 benchmark with a 1m47.158s on his first flyer.

Abt Sportsline’s Kelvin van der Linde was the first driver to break the 1m47s barrier with a 1m47.002s, before Winward Mercedes’ Lucas Auer moved the goalposts further with a 1m46.590s.

Abril then found even more time in the second HRT AMG GT3, ending the first run on top with a time of 1m46.488s.

More improvements were expected when the field returned to the track in the final five minutes, but only DTM returnee Daniel Juncadella was able to bother the frontrunners, going second with a 1m45.560s.

That put Abril on pole position for the DTM’s first race under GT3 regulations, the Frenchman remaining unchallenged despite opting to pit before completing a timed lap on his second run.

Insight: The eight things to watch for as the DTM's brave new era begins

Juncadella ended up 0.072s behind in second, with Auer another 0.030s adrift in third in the Winward Mercedes.

Testing pacesetter Gotz made it a Mercedes top four clean sweep, as Esteban Muth moved up to fifth with a last-gasp effort of 41m46.863s in the T3 Lamborghini.

Pole sitter Vincent Abril, Haupt Racing Team

Pole sitter Vincent Abril, Haupt Racing Team

Photo by: Gruppe C GmbH

Ellis was classified sixth in the Winward Mercedes, with Red Bull protege Liam Lawson qualifying seventh with a time of 1m46.900s in the AF Corse-run Ferrari.

Last year’s DTM runner up Nico Muller was the top Audi qualifier in eighth in the Team Rosberg-run R8 LMS, with van der Linde finishing just 0.065s behind in ninth.

Maximilian Buhk, deputising for the absent Gary Paffett on Formula E reserve duty in Puebla, rounded out the top 10 ahead of Mike Rockenfeller (Abt Audi), Esmee Hawkey (T3 Lamborghini) and Arjun Maini (GetSpeed Mercedes).

Red Bull Formula 1 reserve Alex Albon qualified a disappointing 14th in the second of the AF Corse Ferraris, ending up nine tenths off the top spot.

PLUS: Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

BMW struggled for pace in Monza qualifying, with the marque’s top runner and Walkenhorst driver Marco Wittmann only 15th ahead of Rowe Racing M6 duo Sheldon van der Linde and Timo Glock.

Qualifying results:

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.488  
2 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.560 0.072
3 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.590 0.102
4 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.832 0.344
5 Esteban Muth Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'46.863 0.375
6 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.890 0.402
7 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'46.900 0.412
8 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'46.927 0.439
9 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'46.928 0.440
10 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.993 0.505
11 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'47.235 0.747
12 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'47.262 0.774
13 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'47.363 0.875
14 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'47.397 0.909
15 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 1'47.553 1.065
16 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 1'47.565 1.077
17 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 1'47.657 1.169
18 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'47.734 1.246
19 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'48.087 1.599
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Monza DTM: Ellis Mercedes tops Friday practice as GT3 era begins
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Monza DTM: Ellis Mercedes tops Friday practice as GT3 era begins

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