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Bortolotti Confident of Title Odds Despite Recent Setbacks

Mirko Bortolotti assures he is still in DTM title hunt after falling behind rivals at Nürburging and Spa…

Photo: DTM

Mirko Bortolotti remains confident about his championship bid in DTM, despite falling behind some of his rivals with just two weekends remaining.

The Italian racer led the championship during the halfway stage, but scored just five points from four races at the Nürburgring and Spa.

Notably, he failed to score at both Nürburgring races, first retiring from a collision with Felipe Fraga on Saturday and then coming to blows with Kelvin van der Linde on Sunday, resulting in another non-finish.

As a result, Bortolotti has dropped from first to fourth in the standings, being surpassed by Sheldon van der Linde, Lucas Auer and Rene Rast.

While just four points separate Bortolotti from Auer, the gap to championship leader Van der Linde is more substantial at 36 points.

Despite this, he remains upbeat about his championship odds.

“Is it mathematically possible? I think you gave yourself your answer then,” Bortolotti said when asked about the hopes for a title tilt.

The Lamborghini factory driver also asserted that his weekend at Spa, where he finished eighth on Saturday and tenth on Sunday,  was “perfect.”

He said that poor tire choices during the two wet qualifying sessions resulted in poor grid positions, which left him further down the grid than he should have been.

“I think you always need to analyze certain situations exactly and [see] what happens during what race,” Bortolotti said.  

“In Spa, to be honest from my point of view I can say we had a perfect weekend except two little mistakes in qualifying.

“That really made the whole difference, because in the race we were competitive.

“We gained many, many places and had two perfect pitstops and strategy. So we did everything we needed to do.

“Afterwards it is always easy to see, but I think that it’s fair to say that two little mistakes in qualifying in terms of tire choice and timing put us in the position we were on the grid.

“That’s the only explanation I have.

“It’s the way it is, it’s part of motorsport. It doesn’t always go perfect.

“Sometimes you take a decision that works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

The Lamborghini factory driver also admitted that his failure to score at the Nürburgring was a setback, but stressed it should be viewed in the context of the entire season as opposed to just a single weekend.

“Then of course Nürburgring we had two zeroes, which was not ideal,” he said.

“But we also had races this year where we scored more points than where we were supposed to score.

“So if I think about Imola, we scored 15 points where 99 percent of the time we should have scored none.

“We lost some points in Portimao in the first race as well, so at the end of the day you need to analyse the whole season and not only point the finger at one specific race.

“It’s an eight-weekend championship so there’s many, many things that happen throughout the season.”

Bortolotti also said he felt no need to change his approach going into the final four races, even despite his deficit to Van der Linde in this late stage of the season.

“It’s about what you do on Saturday and Sunday,” he noted.

“It matters at the Red Bull Ring like it mattered until [up] that point.

“For sure, we are in a position where we need to score good points ideally. Not only at Red Bull Ring but also at Hockenheim.

“This is our goal, but this is not only the goal for Red Bull Ring, also for the other races.

“So I don’t see a difference in approaching it mentally.

“There’s no change in the approach or the way we prepare for Red Bull Ring.

“We’ve had good weekends, we’ve had less positive weekends in the year.

“In the end, what makes the year is what you manage to produce over the entire season.

“We still have two weekends to go. We will try to keep going, do our job, focus on ourselves.

“We are all motivated and looking forward to it.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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