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

Vincent Abril scored the first pole position of the DTM's new GT3 era at Monza, as Mercedes locked out the top four.

The laptimes were significantly quicker than those seen in 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 Audi man Kelvin van der Linde then lowered the bar to 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 Mercedes-AMG GT3, ending the first runs 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.

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 an-all Mercedes top four, as Esteban Muth moved up to fifth with a last-gasp effort of 1m46.863s in the T3 Lamborghini.

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

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, rounded out the top 10 ahead of former champion Mike Rockenfeller (Abt Audi).

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

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 5 France Vincent Abril
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.488
2 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.560 0.072
3 22 Austria Lucas Auer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.590 0.102
4 4 Germany Maximilian Götz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.832 0.344
5 10 Belgium Esteban Muth
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'46.863 0.375
6 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.890 0.402
7 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'46.900 0.412
8 51 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'46.927 0.439
9 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'46.928 0.440
10 18 Germany Maximilian Buhk
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.993 0.505
11 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'47.235 0.747
12 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'47.262 0.774
13 36 India Arjun Maini
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'47.363 0.875
14 23 Thailand Alex Albon
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'47.397 0.909
15 11 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M6 GT3 1'47.553 1.065
16 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M6 GT3 1'47.565 1.077
17 16 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M6 GT3 1'47.657 1.169
18 12 United States Dev Gore
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'47.734 1.246
19 99 Germany Sophia Flörsch
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'48.087 1.599
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