Norisring DTM: Lawson beats van der Linde to pole for finale

Red Bull protege Liam Lawson edged out DTM title rival Kelvin van der Linde to claim pole position for the final race of the season at the Norisring.

Norisring DTM: Lawson beats van der Linde to pole for finale

The result means the top two drivers in the championship will start on the front row for the second time this weekend, with Maximilian Gotz - the only other contender in the title fight - lining up eight on the grid.

The three bonus points Lawson scored for topping qualifying puts him 19 clear of Lawson with 25 on offer in the race, while Gotz has slipped 22 points behind the AF Corse driver.

In much cooler conditions compared to Saturday, 2016/17 Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi set the early pace in the fourth Abt Sportsline Audi, leading the field after the first runs with a time of 49.327s.

But in the second half of the session the Red Bull-backed pair held the advantage, with Lawson and Alex Albon’s substitute Nick Cassidy trading positions at the top of the timesheets.

Lawson was the first driver to break the 49s barrier in qualifying, posting a time of 48.974s, before Cassidy snatched the top spot with a 48.862s.

But the pole position went to Lawson, the 19-year-old setting purple times in each of the three sectors en route to a 48.922s, besting his own lap time record from Saturday’s qualifying.

Abt Audi's Van der Linde managed to separate the two AF Corse drivers towards the end of the session, but still ended up 0.041s adrift of the points leader with a best time of 48.663s.

Both Lawson and van der Linde brushed the wall at the exit of Turn 7 on their final flying laps, with the former having to abort his lap due to possible damage on his Ferrari.

Third place went to super sub Cassidy, the Envision Virgin Formula E driver ending up exactly a tenth adrift of his teammate in only his second qualifying appearance of the season.

Winward driver Lucas Auer led a train of Mercedes cars in fourth with a time of 48.755s, beating teammate Philip Ellis, GruppeM’s Daniel Juncadella, GetSpeed's Arjun Maini and HRT’s Gotz.

Gotz, who won the opening race on Saturday with a charging drive from fifth on the grid to keep his title hopes alive, now faces an arduous battle to overcome a 22-point deficit to Lawson in the standings.

Behind Gotz, the top 10 was completed by Team Rosberg Audi’s Nico Muller and the Mucke Motorsport Mercedes of Maximilian Buhk.

Di Grassi ended up 14th after the driveshaft on his Audi broke during the middle of qualifying, while Walkenhorst Marco Wittmann qualified places behind in 16th in what is expected to be the final qualifying appearance of the outgoing BMW M6.

Fellow BMW runners Sheldon van der Linde and Timo Glock didn’t fare much better in the two Rowe Racing-run machines, qualifying 18th and 20th respectively.

Qualifying results:

Cla Driver Car Time Gap
1 New Zealand Liam Lawson
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 48.622
2 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde
Audi R8 LMS Evo 48.663 0.041
3 New Zealand Nick Cassidy
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 48.722 0.100
4 Austria Lucas Auer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.755 0.133
5 United Kingdom Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.755 0.133
6 Spain Daniel Juncadella
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.763 0.141
7 India Arjun Maini
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.836 0.214
8 Germany Maximilian Götz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 48.913 0.291
9 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 48.971 0.349
10 Germany Maximilian Buhk
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 49.043 0.421
11 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.048 0.426
12 France Vincent Abril
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 49.096 0.474
13 Germany Sophia Flörsch
Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.126 0.504
14 Brazil Lucas di Grassi
Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.152 0.530
15 Belgium Esteban Muth
BMW M6 GT3 49.215 0.593
16 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M6 GT3 49.266 0.644
17 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 49.367 0.745
18 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M6 GT3 49.369 0.747
19 United States Dev Gore
Audi R8 LMS Evo 49.408 0.786
20 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M6 GT3 49.518 0.896
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