Audis dominate ADAC GT Masters qualifying at Sachsenring

- Pole position for Kelvin van der Linde and Nicki Thiim - Audi and Porsche carve up first two rows between them - Prosperia C Abt Racing Audi R8 on pole position for both races

Hohenstein-Ernstthal: Changeable weather was once again a factor as the penultimate raceweekend of the ADAC GT Masters at the Sachsenring got underway, but it was unable to put thebrakes on Kelvin van der Linde (18, ZA) or Nicki Thiim (25, DK) in their Audi R8s. The two driversentered by Prosperia C Abt Racing, the team managed by former ADAC GT Masters championChristian Abt, each won their qualifying heat to book pole position in the ADAC GT Masters raceson Saturday and Sunday (both shown live on kabel eins from 11.45am CEST). “Pole is only onesmall step and doesn’t mean anything in itself, but it’s a good position to be in for the title fight,”said championship leader van der Linde after claiming his second ADAC GT Masters poleposition. “Now I’m hoping for a good start in Saturday’s race.”

Key facts, Sachsenring, Rounds 13 and 14Track length: 3,645 metresWeather: 19°C, overcast and rainyPole position for Race 1: Kelvin van der Linde (Prosperia C Abt Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra) 01:21.100 minsPole position for Race 2: Nicki Thiim (Prosperia C Abt Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra), 01:31.821 mins

Qualifying 1 for Race 1 on Saturday:An impending thunderstorm caused qualifying to get off to a hectic start, although currentchampionship leader van der Linde seemed unruffled. The South African immediately went tothe top of the timesheets and found himself sitting pretty after ten minutes of the 25 allotted tothe session when it was interrupted: a contact between Albert von Thurn und Taxis (31,Germany) in the Reiter Engineering Chevrolet Camaro and Maro Engel (29, Germany) in a ROWERacing Mercedes-Benz had left the Camaro in the gravel. While the track marshals were sortingthis out, the rain set in. As it then proved impossible to set faster times on the wet track, van derLinde’s pole position was assured. “We have found a very good setup for our Audi, andeverything had gone very well in free practice,” said van der Linde with a degree of satisfaction.Lined up behind the Audi are two Porsche 911s, with Robert Renauer (29, Germany / TONINOTeam Herberth) sharing the front row and Christian Engelhart (27, Germany /GW IT RacingTeam Schütz Motorsport) in third.One driver with particular cause for cheer was Philip Geipel (27, Germany) in a YACO RacingAudi who qualified fourth in his home race, the best grid position yet for the local hero. LucaStolz (19, Germany) in an HTP Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG starts from fifth ahead ofClaudia Hürtgen (42, Germany) in a Pixum Team Schubert BMW Z4; She and her Austrian codriverDominik Baumann (21) are currently placed third in the championship standings.Qualifying 2 for Race 2 on Sunday:On a drying track, the second qualifying heat turned out to be one of the most excitingwitnessed this season. The lead changed hands eleven times during the course of the session,but in the end it was Nicki Thiim, who made it a 1-2-3 lockout for Audi, whilst notching up hissecond pole in successive race weekends. Starting alongside Thiim is Austria’s Daniel Dobitsch(30) in a kfzteile24 APR Motorsport Audi, and behind them in third position is van der Linde’sMedia informationteam-mate René Rast (27, Germany), with whom he not only shares the cockpit of his ProsperiaC Abt Racing Audi but also the championship lead.“On a wet Sachsenring, it was a balancing act between driving as fast as possible and stillstaying on the track,” said Rast. “The title is now uppermost in our mind, so it wouldn’t havebeen right to take excessive risks.”The makeup of the second row is highly relevant to the destination of the championshipwinners’ trophy, with closest pursuer Jaap van Lagen (37) from the Netherlands qualifying fourthin his GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport Porsche.Sebastian Asch (28, Germany) in a Farnbacher Racing Porsche 911 starts from fifth ahead ofMarkus Winkelhock (34, Germany) in a YACO Racing Audi R8.Result: Qualifying 1 (Top Five):1. Kelvin van der Linde (Prosperia C. Abt Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra), 01:21.100 mins2. Robert Renauer (TONINO Team Herberth, Porsche 911 GT3 R), +0.229 sec3. Christian Engelhart (GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R), +0.426 sec4. Philip Geipel (YACO Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra), +0.712 sec5. Luca Stolz (HTP Motorsport-Mercedes, Benz SLS AMG GT3), +0.717 secResult: Qualifying 2 (Top Five):1. Nicki Thiim (Prosperia C Abt Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra), 01:31.821 mins2. Daniel Dobitsch (kfzteile24 APR Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS ultra), +0.334 sec3. René Rast (Prosperia C Abt Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra), +0.440 sec4. Jaap van Lagen (GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R), +0.695 sec5. Sebastian Asch (Farnbacher Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R), +0.720 sec