Monza DTM: Van der Linde beats Lawson to Sunday pole

Audi GT3 star Kelvin van der Linde claimed pole position for the second DTM race of the Monza season opener, beating Saturday winner Liam Lawson by 0.078s in a closely-contested qualifying.

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Nurburgring 24 Hours winner van der Linde led throughout the 20-minute session in his Abt Sportsline R8 LMS, with his time of 1m46.604s from the first run proving to be good enough for a maiden pole in the revamped DTM series.

Red Bull protege Lawson didn’t set a competitive lap until the final five minutes of qualifying, but his first flyer - a 1m46.942s - was already good enough for a provisional third.

Then the Kiwi managed to find yet more time on his final lap, securing a spot on the front row of the grid with a 1m46.682s.

That denied the van der Linde brothers the chance to start at the front of the pack, with Rowe Racing BMW driver Sheldon having provisionally held second with a 1m46.834s until a late improvement from Lawson dropped him to third.

Nico Muller qualified fourth in the Team Rosberg Audi, just 0.004s adrift of the younger of the van der Linde brothers, as Esteban Muth made it four different manufacturers in the top with a time of 1m46.849s in the T3 Lamborghini.

Mercedes had locked out the top four spots on Saturday’s grid but following a 25kg weight penalty the German marque’s best qualifier was HRT driver Vincent Abril in sixth, albeit just 0.248s off the outright pace.

Lucas Auer, who finished outside the points yesterday after a slow pitstop, qualified right behind Abril in the Winward Mercedes, as Maximilian Gotz (HRT), Daniel Juncadella (GruppeM) and Philip Ellis (Winward) completed the top 10.

Marco Wittman qualified 11th in the sole Walkenhorst BMW, while Alex Albon finished 0.467s behind polesitter van der Linde in 12th in the second AF Corse-run Ferrari.

2013 champion Mike Rockenfeller ended up a disappointing 17th in the second of the three Abt Audis.

Qualifying results:

Cla # Driver Car Time Gap
1 3 South Africa Kelvin van der Linde Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'46.604  
2 30 New Zealand Liam Lawson Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'46.682 0.078
3 31 South Africa Sheldon Van Der Linde BMW M6 GT3 1'46.834 0.230
4 51 Switzerland Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'46.838 0.234
5 10 Belgium Esteban Muth Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'46.849 0.245
6 5 France Vincent Abril Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.852 0.248
7 22 Austria Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.939 0.335
8 4 Germany Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.944 0.340
9 8 Spain Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.964 0.360
10 57 United Kingdom Philip Ellis Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'46.967 0.363
11 11 Germany Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 1'47.044 0.440
12 23 Thailand Alex Albon Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 1'47.071 0.467
13 16 Germany Timo Glock BMW M6 GT3 1'47.163 0.559
14 36 India Arjun Maini Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'47.390 0.786
15 18 Germany Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 1'47.490 0.886
16 26 United Kingdom Esmee Hawkey Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 1'47.540 0.936
17 9 Germany Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'47.592 0.988
18 12 United States Dev Gore Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'47.647 1.043
19 99 Germany Sophia Flörsch Audi R8 LMS Evo 1'48.142 1.538
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