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Qualifying report

Norisring DTM: Lawson beats van der Linde to Saturday pole

Red Bull protege Liam Lawson claimed a crucial pole position in the penultimate qualifying of the 2021 DTM season at the Norisring, beating his title rival Kelvin van der Linde.

Liam Lawson, AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

The result means AF Corse driver Lawson will head to Saturday’s opening race with a 15-point advantage over the Abt Sportsline Audi of van der Linde, albeit with 18kg of ballast on his Ferrari.

The laptimes tumbled rapidly around the short 2.6km circuit in Nuremberg as the session progressed, helped by drivers being able to complete multiple flying laps on a single set of tyres.

Van der Linde was the first driver to break the 50s barrier in qualifying with a time of 49.647s, before improving further to a 49.255s, setting the fastest lap of the weekend in the process.

But the South African’s position at the top of the timesheets proved to be short-lived as Lawson began setting a series of quick times, moving the goalposts with a 48.966s flyer.

The next driver to go on top was GetSpeed Mercedes’ Arjun Maini, edging out Lawson by just 0.021s to claim provisional pole after the first runs.

When the drivers returned on track in the final five minutes of the session, Lawson wasted little time to snatch the top spot back from Maini, setting a time of 48.903s on his first flying lap.

The Kiwi then moved himself out of reach of his opponents with a 48.766s, before finding yet more time on his final flyer to seal his third pole position.

Lawson’s title rival van der Linde did improve to second with a last-gasp effort of his own, but ended a sizeable 0.184s adrift of the Red Bull junior’s best time of 48.720s.

Winward driver Lucas Auer led a train of Mercedes cars in third, a further 0.027s adrift of a front-row start, as Maini finished fourth after failing to improve his previous benchmark in his final run.HRT’s Maximilian Gotz, who is still in contention for the title, was classified fifth with a time of 48.960s, beating fellow Mercedes runners Philip Ellis (Winward) and Daniel Juncadella (GruppeM).

Contesting his first DTM race of the season as a replacement for Alex Albon, Super Formula and SUPER GT champion Nick Cassidy posted a time of 49.038s to qualify an impressive eighth in the AF Corse Ferrari.

The top 10 was rounded out by Nico Muller in the Team Rosberg Audi and T3 Motorsport Lamborghini driver Esteban Muth.

Two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann’s woes continued as he qualified on the last row of the grid in 19th, beating only the second Team Rosberg Audi of Dev Gore.


Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 48.720  
2 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 48.904 0.184
3 22 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.931 0.211
4 36 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.938 0.218
5 4 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.960 0.240
6 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.986 0.266
7 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 49.024 0.304
8 23 New Zealand Nick Cassidy Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 49.038 0.318
9 51 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.189 0.469
10 10 Belgium Esteban Muth BMW M6 GT3 49.251 0.531
11 5 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 49.270 0.550
12 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.291 0.571
13 37 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.292 0.572
14 18 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 49.292 0.572
15 99 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.444 0.724
16 16 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 49.472 0.752
17 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 49.487 0.767
18 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 49.517 0.797
19 11 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 49.568 0.848
20 12 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.753 1.033

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