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Grouped Norisring Qualifying Avoids “Disaster”

DTM drivers positive about altered Norisring qualifying format…

Photo: DTM

DTM drivers are positive about the decision to alter the qualifying format for this weekend’s Norisring races, saying that the call to split the 27-car field up into two separate groups is the ‘right way to go’.

The series made the call to introduce a different format to qualifying specifically designed for the Nuremberg street circuit.

At just 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles), the Norisring is the shortest track on the calendar. With 27 cars set to contest this weekend’s two races, concerns arose that drivers would have trouble finding the space to set clear qualifying lap times.

The tweaked format will see the field split up into two groups based on championship standings, with each group getting their own twenty-minute session.

Ricardo Feller, the series’ most recent race winner, praised the decision to adapt the format for the street circuit race.

“I think it’s definitely the right way to go because on the other racetracks we already found out in qualifying that it can be difficult to get a clear lap,” Feller said.

“Sometimes it’s even impossible, depending on the situation. So I think in Norisring it would have been a disaster.”

“I think qualifying should not just be a game of luck. So I think it’s definitely the right way to split into [two] groups. So at least the chance is higher to get a clear lap.”

Other drivers, including Dev Gore, reigning champion Maximilian Goetz and Marco Wittmann all shared Feller’s stance. 

Wittmann in particular voiced praise over race director Scot Elkins’ stance on the situation, hinting that drivers had lobbied for a format change before.

“I have to say the solution is really good, what we found,” said Wittmann.

“It’s nice that the DTM and the race director is very open to this. Drivers suggested this already to the race director before.

“Especially on this topic, working together with the race director, with DTM, is a lot better than in the past.

“It’s obviously nice that they are listening to us. We gave this suggestion already and I think it’s the right way to go with these two groups in qualifying.

“To split it and obviously to try to avoid that traffic mess which would have happened was 28 cars on track, so I think it’s really the right call.”

Drivers did not appear to be concerned about a potential advantage for the second group, who could theoretically profit from the track being more rubbered in compared to the first.

“I think that the solution they found was quite clever, where you’re not fighting for overall lap time based on position, but rather your position within your own session,” Dev Gore said. 

“So if one session is massively faster than the other, you don’t lose to everybody in that session.”  

Feller added: “I guess it can be an advantage, but as we change the groups on Sunday, the other group has the advantage Sunday.

“It’s a very difficult thing to make it fair for everyone, because track improvement can have quite an influence on the pace. I think like this we have kind of a fair thing for everyone.”

 

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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