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.
|ten||3||Kelvin van der Linde||Audi||1’21.639||0.269|
|19||1||Sheldon van der Linde||BMW||1’21.914||0.544|