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Mueller Secures Sunday Pole at Portimao

Audi star bounces back from early Saturday retirement to secure first pole of GT3 era…

Photo: DTM

Nico Mueller will start the second DTM race from pole position after outqualifying Saturday podium finisher Mirko Bortolotti.

The Swiss driver set a best time of 1:39:794 behind the wheel of his No. 51 Team Rosberg Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.

This made him the only driver in the session to post a sub-1m40 lap.

Mueller’s best effort came late in a session that saw a significant number of drivers opt to sit out the first half and only go out on track to complete a single qualifying run.

While Mueller did two runs, the N0. 63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Bortolotti only came out for the closing stages in the session.

The Italian then put in a best effort of 1:40:001 to jump up to second place, some two tenths of a second behind the polesitting Audi.

The improved efforts from both Mueller and Bortolotti demoted the No. 74 Red Bull AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Felipe Fraga to third place.

The Brazilian had gone quickest with a time of 1:40:011 before dropping down two places.

He did, however, outqualify Schubert Motorsport’s Sheldon van der Linde, who was just 0.001 seconds slower than the Ferrari.

Lucas Auer, winner of the opening race on Saturday, took fifth with a best effort of 1:40:055 ahead of fellow Mercedes driver Luca Stolz and Marco Wittmann.

Wittmann was the first driver to jump to the top of the charts in the opening exchanges with a 1:40:327 before posting an improved lap of 1:40:107 to end the session seventh.

Kelvin van der Linde put in a late improvement to put his No. 8 Abt Sportsline Audi eighth on the grid ahead of teammate Ricardo Feller.

The top ten was rounded out by reigning champion Maximilian Götz in tenth.

The German’s best effort of 1:40:189 in the No. 1 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo left him 0.395 seconds off pole position as 24 out of 29 cars were covered by under a second.

The second and final DTM race of the weekend kicks off at 12:30 p.m. local time.

RESULTS: Qualifying 2

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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