Assen DTM: Mercedes' Auer scores first pole since 2018

Lucas Auer put Mercedes on pole position for the second DTM race at Assen, topping Sunday’s qualifying from BMW’s Marco Wittmann and new championship leader Liam Lawson.

Improvements were slow to come during the 20-minute session, with none of the drivers able to break the 1m33s barrier in their first runs.

Esteban Muth was the first driver to set a competitive time in the T3 Motorsport Lamborghini, completing a lap in1m32.976s before Red Bull protege Lawson went even quicker in the AF Corse Ferrari to claim provisional pole position.

With just over two minutes left in the session, Abt Sportsline’s Sophia Floersch beached her Audi in the gravel, bringing out a red flag.

When the session resumed after a 10-minute delay, all cars rushed back on track, with erstwhile championship leader Kelvin van der Linde one of the first drivers in the queue.

The South African had gambled on a single run in qualifying, which appeared to backfire when teammate Floersch ran wide off the track just when he was on his first flying lap.

But despite his tyres having gone past their peak performance, the 25-year-old was able to post a time of 1m32.547s to provisionally book a spot on the front row, just 0.046s down on title rival Lawson.

Ultimately, neither driver could hold on to the front row after Auer secured his first pole in the DTM since 2018 with a last-gasp effort of 1m32.414s, and Saturday winner Wittmann moved up to second with a time of 1m32.487s.

Lawson eventually ended up third in the final order, while van der Linde qualified fifth after being pipped by Alex Albon in the other AF Corse entry right at the end of the session.

After securing a podium in his maiden guest appearance on Saturday, factory Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti impressed again as he qualified sixth in the lead T3 Motorsport entry, beating a suite of Mercedes cars led by Maximilian Gotz (HRT), Arjun Maini (GetSpeed), Daniel Juncadella (GruppeM) and Vincent Abril (HRT).

Ex-Formula 1 driver Christian Klien was less than half a second off the pace in his final appearance for the JP Motorsport McLaren team, but that put him down in 13th in what was an ultra-competitive qualifying session.

Qualifying results:

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 22 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.414  
2 11 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 1'32.487 0.073
3 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'32.501 0.087
4 23 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'32.536 0.122
5 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'32.547 0.133
6 63 Italy Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'32.575 0.161
7 4 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.621 0.207
8 36 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.634 0.220
9 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.660 0.246
10 5 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.798 0.384
11 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.806 0.392
12 18 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'32.821 0.407
13 15 Austria Christian Klien McLaren 720S GT3 1'32.886 0.472
14 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 1'32.896 0.482
15 10 Belgium Esteban Muth BMW M6 GT3 1'32.976 0.562
16 51 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'33.212 0.798
17 16 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 1'33.480 1.066
18 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'33.499 1.085
19 12 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'33.638 1.224
20 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'33.893 1.479
21 99 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'35.218 2.804
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Assen DTM: Wittmann wins for BMW, Lawson takes points lead

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