Olsen takes Porsche’s first pole as title contenders struggle

Reigning champion Maximilian Gotz led the 20-minute session after the opening on the wet track that returned to the calendar after a one-year hiatus, with the Winward Mercedes driver setting a benchmark time of 2m30.800s.

This put him just 0.007s ahead of SSR Performance Porsche driver Olsen, with Gotz’s teammate Lucas Auer adrift by exactly the same margin as third in Winward’s second AMG GT3.

Although Gotz failed to improve his lap time in the second part of qualifying, even as the track started to dry up, several others were able to make marginal gains to demote the German driver from the top of the standings. .

Practice pacemaker Thomas Preining was the first driver to push Gotz from first place and move forward, setting a time of 2m30,634s in the Team Bernhard 75 Porsche 911 GT3 R.

But the honor of scoring the Stuttgart brand’s first pole in the DTM went instead to Olsen, the Norwegian who set a lap of 2m30,488s seconds later.

With Dev Gore stranding his Team Rosberg Audi in Brussels in the last minute and causing a yellow flag, no one could improve significantly enough to prevent Olsen from becoming the ninth other driver to score a pole this season.

This meant Preining settled for second, 0.146s behind his Porsche stable mate, while Auer claimed third on the grid after improving Gotz’s previous benchmark by just 0.121s.

Laurens Vanthoor backed up his Porsche teammates’ results by jumping to fifth place late in qualifying in the second of two SSR 911s.

Maro Engel was sixth fastest in the leading GruppeM Mercedes, while David Schumacher took his best qualifying result of the season in seventh, ensuring all three of Winward’s cars were in the top 10.

Kelvin van der Linde was Audi’s best qualifying eighth despite calling an FCY when he stranded his Team Abt R8 LMS GT3 after clipping the wet curbs at Pouhon.

Van der Linde’s car was towed back to the track using a service vehicle with nine minutes to go, enabling him to end the session and set a time of 2m31,233s.

Red Bull’s Felipe Fraga qualified 0.760 seconds off the pace in ninth in the AF Corse-run Ferrari, while the top 10 was completed by Nico Muller’s Team Rosberg Audi.

Rene Rast, Team Abt’s main title contender, qualified just behind Muller in 11th and with a good chance of gaining ground over his championship rivals, who all qualified out of position.

Grasser Lamborghini’s Bortolotti finished in a distant 20th place with a time of more than two seconds off the pace, while points leader Sheldon van der Linde couldn’t do better in 22nd in his Schubert BMW.