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Qualifying report

DTM Hockenheim: Auer takes crucial pole for penultimate race

Mercedes driver Lucas Auer clinched a crucial pole position for his DTM championship hopes in Saturday's qualifying session at the Hockenheimring, as Audi star Rene Rast struggled to ninth.

Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Mercedes-AMG GT3

Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team WINWARD Mercedes-AMG GT3

DTM

Having arrived at the former Formula 1 venue trailing BMW's Sheldon van der Linde by 11 points, Auer closed the gap to the South African to just eight points with the fastest time in the penultimate qualifying of the season on Saturday morning.

The Winward driver was third after the opening runs in the 20-minute sessions, trailing Mercedes stablemate Maro Engel and fellow title contender Mirko Bortolotti with a time of 1m36.745s.

But the Austrian found a heap of time on his second run with just minutes left on the clock, sealing pole by just 0.061s over HRT Mercedes driver Luca Stolz with 1m36.479s effort on his final flier.

Stolz securing a spot on the front row means he remains in contention for the title, while Lamborghini's Bortolotti also gained an extra point by qualifying his Grasser Racing entry in third to boost his hopes of winning the championship in his rookie season.

Auer and Bortolotti's title rivals qualified further down the top 10, with points leader van der Linde only managing the sixth-quickest time in his Schubert BMW, two tenths down on Auer's pace-setting lap.

Team Bernhard Porsche's Thomas Preining was only eighth, with Rast the last of the lead title contenders in ninth aboard the Abt Audi.

Following the end of qualifying, van der Linde continues to lead the standings on 130 points, ahead of Auer (122), Rast (118), Preining (116) and Bortolotti (115). The quintet is now separated by just 15 points with 55 still up for grabs this weekend.

Elsewhere, Walkenhorst BMW driver Marco Wittmann posted a rapid lap in the dying minutes of qualifying to end up fourth behind Bortolotti, with Austria polesitter Engel ending up fifth in his GruppeM Mercedes.

Kelvin van der Linde was sixth aboard the lead Abt Audi, three places ahead of teammate Rast, while the top 10 was rounded out by Team Rosberg's Nico Muller in his last race weekend as an Audi driver.

None of the Ferraris featured inside the top 10, with Nick Cassidy the lead Red Bull driver in 17th and Felipe Fraga further down in 19th.

However, it was a tightly-contested qualifying session, with all 27 cars separated by just 1.2s, with Cassidy himself only half a second off the pace of the front row.

DTM Hockenheim - Qualifying results:

Cla  Driver  Car       Time Gap 
Lucas Auer Mercedes 1'36.479  
Luca Stolz Mercedes 1'36.540 0.061
Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 1'36.627 0.148
4 Marco Wittmann BMW 1'36.637 0.158
Maro Engel Mercedes 1'36.651 0.172
S.van der Linde BMW 1'36.708 0.229
K.van der Linde Audi 1'36.759 0.280
Thomas Preining Porsche 1'36.762 0.283
René Rast Audi 1'36.842 0.363
10  Nico Müller Audi 1'36.859 0.380
11  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini 1'36.880 0.401
12  Maximilian Buhk Mercedes 1'36.891 0.412
13  Philipp Eng BMW 1'36.966 0.487
14  Arjun Maini Mercedes 1'36.970 0.491
15  Rolf Ineichen Lamborghini 1'36.979 0.500
16  David Schumacher Mercedes 1'37.009 0.530
17  Nick Cassidy Ferrari 1'37.010 0.531
18  Dev Gore Audi 1'37.016 0.537
19  Felipe Fraga Ferrari 1'37.037 0.558
20  Dennis Olsen Porsche 1'37.135 0.656
21  C.Engelhart Porsche 1'37.158 0.679
22  Ricardo Feller Audi 1'37.179 0.700
23  Leon Köhler BMW 1'37.268 0.789
24  Mikaël Grenier Mercedes 1'37.291 0.812
25  Maximilian Götz Mercedes 1'37.294 0.815
26  Marius Zug Audi 1'37.382 0.903
27  Alessio Deledda Lamborghini 1'37.667 1.188

 

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