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Rachit Thukral

Spa DTM: Porsche locks out front row in wet qualifying

It was reigning champion Maximilian Gotz who led the 20-minute session after the opening runs, the Winward Mercedes driver lapping the 7.0km circuit in 2m30.800s on a set of wet tyres.

This put him just 0.007s ahead of the Porsche of Olsen, with teammate Lucas Auer adrift by exactly the same margin in third in Winward’s second AMG GT3.

However, while Gotz failed to improve his laptime in the second part of qualifying even as the track started to dry out, several others were able to make marginal gains to demote the German driver from the top spot on the leaderboard.

Practice pacesetter Thomas Preining was the first driver to push Gotz off the top spot and move to the front, clocking a time of 2m30.634s in the Team Bernhard 75 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

But the honour of scoring Stuttgart marque’s first pole in the DTM instead went to Olsen, who hauled his SSR Performance car to the top just seconds later with a 2m30.488s.

With Dev Gore beaching his Team Rosberg Audi at Bruxelles in the final minute and prompting a yellow flag, no one could improve significantly enough to deny Olsen from becoming the ninth different driver to score a pole this season.

This meant Preining settled for second, 0.146s off his Porsche stablemate, while Auer claimed the third spot on the grid after overhauling Gotz’s previous benchmark by just 0.121s.

Laurens Vanthoor backed up the results of his Porsche squadmates by leaping up to fifth late in qualifying in the second of the two SSR 911s.

Maro Engel was sixth-fastest in the lead GruppeM Mercedes, while David Schumacher secured his best qualifying result of the season in seventh and ensured all three cars from the Winward team were inside the top 10.

Kelvin van der Linde was Audi’s top qualifier in eighth despite prompting a FCY when he beached his Team Abt R8 LMS GT3 after clipping the wet kerbs at Pouhon.

Van der Linde’s car was dragged back to the track with the help of a service vehicle with nine minutes still to run, allowing him to finish the session and set a time of2m31.233s.

Red Bull’s Felipe Fraga qualified 0.760s off the pace in ninth in the top AF Corse-run Ferrari, while the top 10 was rounded out by Nico Muller’s Team Rosberg Audi.

Team Abt’s star driver Rene Rast qualified just behind Muller in 11th and with a strong chance of making ground on his championship rivals, who all qualified out of position.

Grasser Lamborghini’s Bortolotti ended up a distant 20th with a time that was over two seconds off the pace, while points leader Sheldon van der Linde couldn’t fare any better in 22nd in his Schubert BMW.

DTM Spa - Qualifying results:

 Cla   Nº   Driver   Car / Engine   Time  Gap
94  Dennis Olsen Porsche 2'30.488  
24  Thomas Preining Porsche 2'30.634 0.146
22  Lucas Auer Mercedes 2'30.679 0.191
Maximilian Götz Mercedes 2'30.800 0.312
92  Laurens Vanthoor Porsche 2'30.923 0.435
88  Maro Engel Mercedes 2'31.054 0.566
27  David Schumacher Mercedes 2'31.087 0.599
Kelvin van der Linde Audi 2'31.233 0.745
74  Felipe Fraga Ferrari 2'31.248 0.760
10  51  Nico Müller Audi 2'31.335 0.847
11  33  René Rast Audi 2'31.521 1.033
12  37  Nick Cassidy Ferrari 2'31.809 1.321
13  36  Arjun Maini Mercedes 2'32.037 1.549
14  Ricardo Feller Audi 2'32.095 1.607
15  Luca Stolz Mercedes 2'32.247 1.759
16  18  Maximilian Buhk Mercedes 2'32.259 1.771
17  11  Marco Wittmann BMW 2'32.262 1.774
18  10  Esteban Muth BMW 2'32.534 2.046
19  85  Clemens Schmid Lamborghini 2'32.638 2.150
20  63  Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 2'32.682 2.194
21  55  Mikaël Grenier Mercedes 2'32.887 2.399
22  31  Sheldon van der Linde BMW 2'33.138 2.650
23  25  Philipp Eng BMW 2'33.183 2.695
24  19  Rolf Ineichen Lamborghini 2'33.756 3.268
25  66  Marius Zug Audi 2'33.875 3.387
26  12  Dev Gore Audi 2'34.505 4.017
27  Alessio Deledda Lamborghini 2'36.511 6.023
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