Perera puts Lamborghini on pole, Aitken second

Lamborghini driver Franck Perera took pole position for the opening race of the 2023 DTM season at Oschersleben, as Jack Aitken qualified on the front row for his debut.

Perera clocked 1m21.370s in his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 SSR Performance in the DTM’s first visit to Oschersleben since 2015, beating Aitken’s Emil Frey Racing Ferrari for pole by just 0.018s in a very disputed.

Lamborghini drivers held the lead for much of the 20-minute qualifying, with Alessio Deledda setting the pace in his Grasser Racing example with a time of 1m22.818s.

Aitken briefly ended Lamborghini’s reign when he climbed to the top with a flyer of 1m21.745s with six minutes left, but Perera put the Volkswagen Group brand back in the lead almost immediately afterwards with a 1m21.601s despite a wide run in the last corner.

Perera then found even more time in the closing minutes of the session, with his final effort of 1m21.370s securing him pole position in only his second DTM appearance – and his first as a full-time rider.

Aitken, a former Formula 1 starter, improved to 1m21.388s in the dying minutes of the session to qualify for a strong second place, edging Perera’s team-mate and fellow factory Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti by 0.038 s.

Rookie Mick Wishofer placed three cars from the Lamborghini team in the top four, with the Grasser Racing driver qualifying fourth and just over a tenth of a second slower than Perera.

Fifth in qualifying went to works driver Ricardo Feller’s Abt Sportsline Audi, with Porsche ace Thomas Preining finishing sixth in the Manthey EMA Porsche with an identical time to Feller.

Two-time DTM Trophy champion Tim Heinemann qualified seventh on his DTM climb with Toksport WRT Porsche, beating the Schubert BMW of three-time champion Rene Rast.

Rast, who was competing in BMW colors for the first time in the DTM after leaving Audi, clocked a best time of 1m21.577s to qualify eighth overall and first in the BMW contingent.

Teammate and defending champion Sheldon van der Linde qualified a frustrating 19th after setting the pace in Friday practice, while Marco Wittmann was even further behind in 21st in the BMW M4 Project 1.

Behind Rast, Laurin Henrich finished ninth for Team Bernhard Porsche, while Kelvin van der Linde completed the top 10 for Abt Sportsline Audi.

Mercedes endured a dismal qualifying session at Oschersleben, with Winward driver David Schumacher the best of the six-man AMG contingent in 16th, but with a time less than half a second from pole position.

Lucas Auer, back to racing this weekend after a broken bone at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January, could only set enough time for 18th place in the sister Winward AMG GT3.

Qualifying results:

Cla WOMEN Driver Car motor Time Gap
1 94 Frank Perera Lamborghini 1’21.370
2 14 Jack Aitken Ferrari 1’21.388 0.018
3 92 Mirko Bortolotti Lamborghini 1’21.426 0.056
4 19 Mick Wishofer Lamborghini 1’21.485 0.115
5 7 Ricardo Feller Audi 1’21.493 0.123
6 91 Thomas Preing Porsche 1’21.493 0.123
7 9 Tim Heineman Porsche 1’21.500 0.130
8 33 Rene Rast BMW 1’21.577 0.207
9 75 Lauren Heinrich Porsche 1’21.623 0.253
ten 3 Kelvin van der Linde Audi 1’21.639 0.269
11 90 Denis Olsen Porsche 1’21.639 0.269
12 63 Clement Schmid Lamborghini 1’21.656 0.286
13 99 Christian Engelhart Porsche 1’21.745 0.375
14 69 Thierry Vermeulen Ferrari 1’21.755 0.385
15 24 Ayhancan Guven Porsche 1’21.808 0.438
16 27 David Schumacher mercedes 1’21.841 0.471
17 84 Yusuf Ovega mercedes 1’21.878 0.508
18 22 Lucas Auer mercedes 1’21.910 0.540
19 1 Sheldon van der Linde BMW 1’21.914 0.544
20 48 brown angel mercedes 1’21.943 0.573
21 11 Marco Wittman BMW 1’21.948 0.578
22 83 Patrick Niederhauser Audi 1’21.954 0.584
23 8 Luca Engstler Audi 1’22.000 0.630
24 36 Arjun Maini mercedes 1’22.107 0.737
25 4 Luca Stolz mercedes 1’22.463 1.093
26 40 Matthias Drudi Audi 1’22.546 1.176
27 6 Alessio Deledda Lamborghini 1’22.784 1.414

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