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Van der Linde Fastest in Grouped Norisring Qualifying

Kelvin van der Linde comes out on top in new group qualifying format…

Photo: DTM

Kelvin van der Linde secured pole position for the Saturday DTM race at the Norisring, coming out on top in a newly introduced grouped qualifying format.

Van der Linde went quickest of all in his No. 3 Abt Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II by reeling off a lap of 49.236 in the closing stages of the second group.

In doing so, he defeated the fastest driver in the opening group, Thomas Preining, by 0.016 seconds.

During the opening group’s session, Preining secured a front-row start for himself by setting a 49.252 in his No. 24 KUS Team Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 R but had to watch as Van der Linde went narrowly quicker during the second 20-minute session.

As the two drivers were fastest in each of their respective groups, they will occupy the front row with Van der Linde on pole and Preining second.

The rest of the grid for the first of this weekend’s two races was determined using a unique grouped qualifying format.

The session was split into two groups, consisting of 14 and 13 drivers, respectively.

The grid for the race was then determined as all drivers of the respective group lined up directly behind the lead driver in that group, as opposed to comparing the times set between the separate sessions.

Therefore, the drivers with the uneven starting positions lineup behind Van der Linde, while the drivers with the even slots start behind Preining.

As pole sitter, Van der Linde will get to decided which side of the grid his group starts on.

Ayhancan Guven, who took a a surprising second place in the second group on debut, will start from third place alongside Franck Perera, who lost out to Preining in the first session

Lucas Auer and Rene Rast, both third in their groups, will start fifth and sixth.

Mirko Bortolotti and Arjun Maini line up seventh and eighth, with the top ten completed by Ricardo Feller and Nico Mueller.

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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