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.

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 of the season.

Lawson’s title rival van der Linde did improve to second with a last-gasp effort of his own, but ended up 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 the front-row, 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 in the Walkenhorst BMW, beating only the second Team Rosberg Audi of Dev Gore.

Qualifying results:

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
shares
comments
Van der Linde to remain in DTM in 2022 with Abt Audi
Previous article

Van der Linde to remain in DTM in 2022 with Abt Audi

Next article

DTM showcases model for 1000bhp electric prototype

DTM showcases model for 1000bhp electric prototype
Load comments
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Prime

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in.

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream" Prime

How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet.

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Prime

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works.

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Prime

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Prime

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Prime

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One ruleset, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race.

DTM
Oct 14, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis? Prime

Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Prime

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000.

DTM
May 5, 2020