Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde takes pole, Lawson third

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

Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde takes 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 Assen Race 2 winner 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 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 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 Ferrari, having sat seventh mid-way through the session.

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.

2022 Williams Formula 1 driver Alex Albon finished ninth-fastest in the other AF Corse-run Ferrari, while Maximilian Buhk’s substitute Marvin Dienst (Mucke Motorsport) made it six cars from Mercedes’ stable inside the top 10. 

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.

Elsewhere, Lucas di Grassi qualified 18th on his debut in the DTM with a time of 1m38.355s, sandwiched between Abt Sportline teammates Mike Rockenfeller and Sophia Floersch.

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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Hockenheim DTM: Van der Linde wins to draw level with Lawson

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