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Van der Linde Tops Opening Imola Practice

Kelvin van der Linde leads opening practice as weekend action gets underway at Imola…

Photo: Audi

Kelvin van der Linde set the fastest lap in the opening practice session for DTM’s first visit to Imola, outpacing Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor.

Van der Linde reeled off a lap of 1:41.351 behind the wheel of his No. 3 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II to lead proceedings during the first of two 45-minute practice sessions on Friday.

The South African’s late flyer demoted the No. 92 SSR Performance Porsche 911 GT3 R of Laurens Vanthoor to second place.

Vanthoor held the top spot for much of the latter half of the session, but his best lap of 1:41.388 ultimately left him 0.037 seconds down on the Audi.

Nico Mueller was third for Team Rosberg, with Mirko Bortolotti fourth aboard his No. 63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

Ricardo Feller, meanwhile, made it three Audis in the top five as the Swiss driver sat half a second behind his teammate.

Dennis Olsen, who led the session early on and spent a long time in the top three, ultimately ended the session sixth ahead of Mikael Grenier, Maro Engel and Clemens Schmid.

Schmid encountered some trouble during the session when a right rear puncture caused his No. 85 Lamborghini to spin on the approach to Tamburello. He returned to the track later after the car had been checked and a new set of tires had been fitted.

He was ninth, with Rene Rast completing the top ten, seven tenths down on teammate Van der Linde.

Timo Glock, running a guest entry with a Ceccato Racing-entered BMW M4 GT3, ran as high as fourth during the session before ending up just outside the top ten in eleventh place.

Track action for DTM resumes at 3:55 p.m CEST (9:55 ET).

RESULTS: Practice 1

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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