Nurburgring DTM: Van der Linde storms to third pole of 2021

Audi GT3 ace Kelvin van der Linde dominated DTM qualifying at the Nurburgring to claim his third pole position of the 2021 season, beating the Mercedes of Philip Ellis by two tenths.

Nurburgring DTM: Van der Linde storms to third pole of 2021

The laptimes in qualifying were rapid from the very beginning, with the first benchmark set by Christopher Haase in the Team Rosberg Audi already the fastest time of the weekend.

Maximilian Buhk broke the 1m27s barrier in the Mucke Mercedes before he was toppled by the Abt Sportsline Audi of Mike Rockenfeller, the 2013 champion completed a lap of the sprint layout of the Nurburgring in 1m26.812s.

But there was more time to be gained in the first runs, with Rockenfeller’s teammate van der Linde clocking a time of 1m26.168s to go seven tenths quicker than the rest of the field.

The South African found another tenth on his next flyer, which gave him a three tenths buffer over the rest of the field going into the second part of qualifying.

BMW’s Marco Wittmann was the first driver to close the gap to van der Linde, setting a time of 1m26.322s to move up to second - having sat down in 17th place after his first run.

Ellis then jumped up to second in the Winward Mercedes, going fractionally quicker than Wittmann’s Walkenhorst BMW with a 1m26.262s.

However, neither could topple championship leader van der Linde, who aborted his final run after it became clear that his previous benchmark of 1m26.052s was good enough for pole position.

Ellis held on to second to secure his first front row start since claiming pole position at the Lausitzring last month, while Wittmann qualified third to make it three different manufacturers in the top three - although he will have to contend with 25kg of success ballast on his car following his victory in the second race at Zolder.

Daniel Juncadella qualified fourth in the GruppeM Mercedes, ahead of the similar AMG GT3s of Luca Stolz (Toksport) and Maximilian Gotz (HRT).

Stolz, a guest driver at the Nurburgring, had originally qualified third for his debut DTM race but was shuffled back to seventh after his quickest lap time was deleted for a track limits infringement. He set another timed lap right at the end of the session, eventually ending up fifth on the grid.

Haase, debuting for the absent Dev Gore at Team Rosberg, was seventh, four tenths off the pace of polesitter van der Linde.

Esteban Muth was Lamborghini’s top qualifier in eighth in one of the two T3-run Huracans, beating the Red Bull Ferrari of Alex Albon and the Mercedes of Buhk.

Red Bull protege Liam Lawson, the closest rival to van der Linde in the standings, was only 11th in the AF Corse-run Ferrari.

SSR Performance driver Michael Ammermuller qualified 20th on Porsche’s debut in the DTM but was only nine tenths off the ultimate pace in qualifying, as all drivers but Hubert Haupt (HRT) lapped within a second of van der Linde’s chart-setting time.

Qualifying results:

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'26.052
2 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.263 0.211
3 11 Germany Marco Wittmann
BMW M6 GT3 1'26.322 0.270
4 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.344 0.292
5 7 Germany Luca Stolz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.345 0.293
6 4 Germany Maximilian Götz
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.427 0.375
7 12 Germany Christopher Haase
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'26.444 0.392
8 10 Belgium Esteban Muth
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'26.501 0.449
9 23 Thailand Alex Albon
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'26.504 0.452
10 18 Germany Maximilian Buhk
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.511 0.459
11 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson
Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'26.511 0.459
12 36 India Arjun Maini
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.534 0.482
13 5 France Vincent Abril
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.553 0.501
14 15 Austria Christian Klien
McLaren 720S GT3 1'26.602 0.550
15 22 Austria Lucas Auer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'26.630 0.578
16 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'26.681 0.629
17 51 Switzerland Nico Müller
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'26.689 0.637
18 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde
BMW M6 GT3 1'26.742 0.690
19 99 Germany Markus Winkelhock
Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'26.747 0.695
20 92 Michael Ammermüller
Porsche 911 GT3 R 1'26.963 0.911
21 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'26.964 0.912
22 16 Germany Timo Glock
BMW M6 GT3 1'26.999 0.947
23 6 Germany Hubert Haupt
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'27.180 1.128
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