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Feller Tops First of Two Test Sessions at Portimao

Swiss driver quickest in unsually late session in Portugal…

Photo: DTM

Ricardo Feller set the quickest time in the first of two pre-season sessions ahead of the DTM season opener in Portimao, which finished under the cover of darkness.

Tuesday’s session, the first of two before the season kicks off this weekend, was held under unconventional circumstances as it did not start until late in the afternoon and ran into the night.

The unusual schedule is the result of a MotoGP round held at the Portimao circuit last weekend, meaning DTM can only complete setup work for TV production during the day.

Therefore, cars only have the opportunity to head out on track late in the day.

DTM rarely holds sessions in the dark. In 2003, the qualifying session at the Nürburgring was held after sunset.

More notable was a pair of night races held at Misano when the Italian venue first joined the series’ calendar in 2018.

These races under the the lights were not brought back however when the championship returned for the second and final time a year later.

Feller, who will make his DTM debut this weekend, posted a time of 1:41:573 aboard his No. 7 Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II to top the session.

In doing so, he beat the No. 75 KÜS Team Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 R of Thomas Preining to the top spot.

Preining himself had previously taken to the top of the timing sheets before improving his position by posting a 1:41:658.

That was enough for the Austrian to sit at the top of the session for some time, before ultimately ending the day 0.085 seconds behind Feller.

Marius Zug, who topped DTM’s previous pre-season test at the Hockenheimring a few weeks ago, ended the day third for Attempto Racing, 0.184 seconds behind Feller but ahead of fourth-placed Nico Mueller.

German cars dominated the top positions by the time the checkered flag fell, with eight cars in the top ten made up by Audi, Porsche and BMW.

Schubert Motorsport pairing Sheldon van der Linde and Philipp Eng took fifth and sixth in their BMW M4 GT3s, leading the T3 Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Nicki Thiim.

The Dane, seventh with a time of 1:41:970, was 0.367 seconds off the fastest time but ahead of Marco Wittman’s Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW and Lamborghini factory driver Mirko Bortolotti in his No. 63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini.

Three-time DTM champion Rene Rast came tenth, completing a top ten separated by less than half a second.

Rast led the second Walkenhorst BMW of Esteban Muth, who with 78 laps completed was the most productive driver during the test closely followed by Maro Engel with 75 laps and the Ferrari pairing of Nick Cassidy and Felipe Fraga on 73 and 71 laps, respectively.

Mercedes was notably absent from the top ten, with the best-placed AMG driver taking the sixteenth spot in the form of Team HRT’s Luca Stolz.

Reigning champion Maximilian Götz ended the day in 22nd place.

Notably, last year’s DTM Trophy champion Ben Green was on hand during the test to turn laps behind the wheel of a HRT-prepared Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

The 24-year-old set a 1:43:789 to go 28th, only ahead of the Grasser Lamborghini of Alessio Deledda.

Out of the 29 full-season drivers, only the Team Winward Mercedes of Lucas Auer did not set a time.

RESULTS: DTM Portimao Test – Tuesday

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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