Rene Rast took pole position for the Saturday DTM race at Imola, setting the fastest lap amidst a flurry of improvements that cost series rookie Clemens Schmid his maiden series pole.
The three-time series champion reeled off a best lap of 1:39.817 aboard his No. 33 Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II to go quickest of all on Saturday morning.
Rast had already been at the top of the timesheets earlier in the session with a 1:40.221 but began to drop down the order as several drivers began to improve upon their times.
One of these drivers was GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Clemens Schmid. The series rookie surprised by vaulting up to the top spot with a 1:40.198.
He then looked to have secured a front row start for himself by improving to a 1:40.121, only for Rast and Team Rosberg driver Nico Mueller to improve to first and second respectively.
Schmid ultimately finished the session fourth as Thomas Preining jumped to third late on, but managed to remain ahead of both Ricardo Feller and teammate Mirko Bortolotti.
Bortolotti waited a long time before he went out during the session and briefly ran as high as second place, but his best lap of 1:40.180 left him sixth.
Kelvin van der Linde qualified seventh after notably spinning off track at Variante Alta on his penultimate flyer.
The South African then seemed to be on course for an improvement with a best middle sector, but was ultimately unable to break into the top five.
Marco Wittmann was eighth for Walkenhorst Motorsport, with points leader Sheldon van der Linde ninth.
Lucas Auer completed the top ten ahead of Maro Engel, Dennis Olsen, Rolf Ineichen and Luca Stolz.
The first race of the weekend kicks off at 1:30 p.m. CEST (7:3o a.m. ET).
RESULTS: Qualifying 1