SSR Performance’s Mirko Bortolotti secured his third DTM 2023 pole position at Sachsenring, with a fastest lap time of 1:17.336 during the 20-minute qualifying session ahead of Race 2 later today.
Dry conditions welcomed 27 DTM drivers for the second qualifying session this weekend, which would line the drivers’ starting positions for Race 2 in the early afternoon.
Early in the running, Project 1’s BMW M4 GT3s led the order albeit with not thoroughly competitive times yet, Marco Wittmann ahead of teammate Sandro Holsem.
Only 13 drivers decided to go out early and build up the temperature in the cars, and so lap times started to quicken with Jack Aitken of the #14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 as the first to enter the 1:17 margin.
He was looking for a strong starting point for today having had to retire from yesterday’s race.
Lamborghini SSR Performance driver Mirko Bortolotti, who is second in the standings on 145 points – to Thomas Preining’s 151 – was the first driver to surpass Aitken’s benchmark with a 1:17.336.
He is also the sole driver this season to become a repeat DTM race winner, although experienced a tough opening race yesterday, and is targeting his third win this season.
Yesterday’s race winner Luca Stolz showcased encouraging outright pace with his #4 Team HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO2.
At the end, Bortolotti’s time was enough for his third pole position this year taking in three additional points for claiming this top spot (now on 148 points), whilst Aitken took second with his 1:17.514, and Stolz landed third with a 1:17.545.
Closely behind in fourth place was Aitken’s teammate, Thierry Vermeulen, who set a 1:17.846.
Franck Perera locked out fifth position in his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2, after a 1:17.887 fastest lap time.
Ricardo Feller, who sits third in the championship on 132 points, secured sixth in his #3 ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO2 after he put a 1:17.916 time on the board.
Maro Engel of the #48 Team Mann-Filter Mercedes-AMG drove to seventh after a 1:18.021 time was completed.
Feller’s ABT Sportsline teammate, Sheldon van der Linde, was in eighth position with a time of 1:18.086 in his Audi.
In ninth place was Ayhancan Guven’s #24 Team75 Porsche 911 GT3.R, which did a time of 1:18.098, as Team HRT driver Arjun Maini rounded out the top-10 from a fastest time of 1:18.137.
Meanwhile championship-leader Thomas Preining struggled to match his rivals in qualifying only managing 11th position.
Race 2 will commence later today at 12.30 pm UK time, with an hour-long race set to answer if Bortolotti can claim another win and overtake Preining for the championship lead, or whether Preining can assert a comeback.