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Qualifying report

DTM Norisring: Kelvin Van der Linde beats Preining to pole

Kelvin van der Linde became the seventh different polesitter in as many DTM races this year, as the Abt Audi driver topped Group B in split qualifying at the Norisring.

Kelvin van der Linde, Team ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

With the DTM electing to split its 28-car field in half on the short 1.429-mile track, drivers in odd championship positions pre-weekend set their times in the first 20-minute session, with drivers in even championship positions following after a five-minute interval.

Van der Linde pipped DTM series debutant Ayhancan Guven’s Ferrari by 0.023s in the faster of the two groups to snare pole position, his 49.236s lap ducking underneath Thomas Preining’s earlier benchmark lap from Group A.

After coming close to a maiden podium with the single car Team Bernhard 75 Porsche squad at Imola, Preining will therefore join van der Linde on the front row in his best qualifying effort to date.

Guven, who is filling in for Nick Cassidy in the AF Corse-run Red Bull team while the Kiwi is on Formula E in Marrakech, will start third ahead of fellow newcomer Franck Perera, the factory Lamborghini driver 0.070s behind Preining as a last-minute replacement for an unwell Rolf Ineichen.

The third row will be shared by Lucas Auer (Winward Mercedes) and Rene Rast (Abt Audi), while championship leader Sheldon van der Linde will start 22nd after a tough opening session for the Schubert BMW driver.

But he will start ahead of main championship rival Mirko Bortolotti, who was disqualified from qualifying after contravening Article 32.6 of the DTM sporting regulations by not presenting himself to be weighed.

The Grasser Lamborghini driver will therefore start from the back of the grid.

Thomas Preining, KuS Team Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3-R

Thomas Preining, KuS Team Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3-R

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Kelvin van der Linde exchanged fastest times early in Group B with Dennis Olsen’s SSR Performance Porsche, and it was the Norwegian who was 0.008s ahead approaching the halfway point of the session.

But after Guven had moved to the head of the times approaching the latter stages, van der Linde was the only driver able to respond on his second set of tyres and deny the ADAC GT Masters regular a remarkable debut pole.

Auer was just 0.093s away from the top spot, but will start fifth. Bortolotti was next quickest in Group B and was due to start from seventh, but losing all of his times will promote Ricardo Feller (Abt Audi) and Olsen to positions seven and nine on the grid.

Preining’s best effort in the opening session, a 49.252s, was one of two laps good enough to put him on the front row, having found an extra 0.004s to make sure of his position ahead of Perera.

Austrian Preining had exchanged top spot with Rast for much of the Group A session, with three-time DTM champion Rast ahead by just 0.072s at the halfway point.

But following a visit to the pits for fresh rubber, Preining unlocked even more pace from his Porsche and edged ahead on 49.403s with three minutes to go.

He then set a 49.256s to move almost two tenths ahead of Rast, before Perera elbowed his way onto the second row.

Behind Rast were Arjun Maini (HRT Mercedes) and Nico Muller’s Team Rosberg Audi, who will start eighth and tenth respectively.

Maini’s team-mate Luca Stolz was unable to set a time and remained in the garage with a gearbox problem.

DTM Norisring - Qualifying results

Group B

Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
K.van der Linde Audi 49.236   22
37  Ayhancan Guven Ferrari 49.259 0.023 20
22  Lucas Auer Mercedes 49.329 0.093 21
63  Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 49.362 0.126 20
Ricardo Feller Audi 49.391 0.155 11
94  Dennis Olsen Porsche 49.401 0.165 19
Maximilian Götz Mercedes 49.417 0.181 20
92  Laurens Vanthoor Porsche 49.457 0.221 20
25  Philipp Eng BMW 49.602 0.366 19
10  55  Mikaël Grenier Mercedes 49.641 0.405 22
11  10  Esteban Muth BMW 49.784 0.548 19
12  66  Marius Zug Audi 49.970 0.734 17
13  Luca Stolz Mercedes -   0

Group A

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps 
24  Thomas Preining Porsche 49.252   19
19  Franck Perera Lamborghini 49.322 0.070 21
33  René Rast Audi 49.361 0.109 22
36  Arjun Maini Mercedes 49.468 0.216 21
51  Nico Müller Audi 49.504 0.252 13
74  Felipe Fraga Ferrari 49.549 0.297 20
11  Marco Wittmann BMW 49.595 0.343 20
85  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini 49.603 0.351 20
27  David Schumacher Mercedes 49.770 0.518 22
10  88  Maro Engel Mercedes 49.796 0.544 19
11  31  S.van der Linde BMW 49.811 0.559 21
12  18  Maximilian Buhk Mercedes 49.840 0.588 19
13  12  Dev Gore Audi 50.075 0.823 19
14  Alessio Deledda Lamborghini 50.244 0.992 21

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