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Factory Driver becomes the first repeat winner in 2023 season to take the points lead
Sant’Agata Bolognese/Lausitzring, 20 August 2023 – Lamborghini Factory Driver Mirko Bortolotti produced a defensive masterclass amid huge pressure to claim his second DTM race victory of the season at the Lausitzring, a result which moves the SSR Performance driver into the lead of the championship standings.
Following his maiden series win last time out, Bortolotti entered the fifth round of the year 29 points adrift of the erstwhile leader Thomas Preining. But a second place in the opening one-hour race on Saturday and victory on Sunday – combined with pole position for Race 2 – catapulted Bortolotti into a seven-point advantage over Preining heading into the next round at the Sachsenring.
Key to becoming the first repeat winner of the 2023 season for Bortolotti was qualifying on Sunday morning, in which the #92 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 proved to be the fastest car in a session which ended early due to a red flag.
Bortolotti maintained his lead from the rolling start amid an early attack from the Audi of Ricardo Feller. Behind the top two, the GRT Grasser Racing Team car of Clemens Schmid held onto third place ahead of the second SSR Performance machine of Franck Perera. Unfortunately for the pair of scrapping Lamborghinis, their race ended in contact as Perera collected the rear of Schmid as the former was coming into the pits at the final corner.
Carrying an extra 10kg of success ballast courtesy of his second place from race one, Bortolotti came under threat from the lighter Feller behind, with the lead gap never growing to more than a second throughout the opening stint. Despite the attentions of Feller, Bortolotti kept the #92 ahead until the compulsory pit-stop window opened and the pair pitted on the same lap. Quick work from the SSR Performance mechanics ensured Bortolotti came back out in front, but the pressure intensified in the second half of the race.
Feller got close on several occasions, but Bortolotti was superb in defence to keep the faster Audi at bay. In the intense summer heat, Bortolotti edged out enough of a margin in the closing stages to come home just over a quarter of a second at the finish.
Mirko Bortolotti (SSR Performance) said: “I’m proud of my team, everyone involved in this project. It was an unbelievable race, you have no idea how much pressure I was under, Ricardo drove so well, with some contact here and there, the way it should. I just had to keep my cool, make no mistakes and just bring it home. I don’t want to define it in laps, but I couldn’t have done much longer so I was glad that the race ended when it did.”
Prior to his second win of the year, Bortolotti had already carved into Preining’s championship lead on Saturday, qualifying second on the grid and picking up four points. Bortolotti held position at the start behind polesitter Jack Aitken and closed up onto the back of the Ferrari at the end of the opening stint before the pit-stops.
The #92 initially came out in the lead but struggled to generate heat in the tyres quickly enough and dropped back to second. Bortolotti staved off the challenge from the Audi of Kelvin van der Linde and eventually chased down Aitken to end up just over two seconds shy of the victory by the end.