Mirko Bortolotti has admitted fault in the late-race clash with Felipe Fraga that left both drivers out of the race amidst a battle for the lead in Saturday’s DTM race at the Nürburgring.
The two drivers came to blows while battling for first place in Saturday’s delayed race, which started nearly four hours later than originally planned due to fog.
After Fraga took the lead on the opening lap, briefly lost it after the stops and regained it again, the two drivers were bumper-to-bumper as the race entered the final fifteen minutes.
With eleven minutes on the clock, Bortolotti then lunged up the inside of Fraga at the final corner resulting in contact.
Both drivers span out, which allowed championship rival Sheldon van der Linde to slip through and take the lead, going on to take his third victory of the season.
Bortolotti, meanwhile, spent a long time trying to get his No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo going again before pulling over not much later, with Fraga later joining him in retirement.
“I made a mistake in the last corner,” Bortolotti said on the official DTM broadcast.
“I tried to outbrake Felipe there and it was a bit wet, so I lost the front and unfortunately we touched.
“I’m really disappointed. Really sorry for the team.
“Also sorry to Felipe. I didn’t want to destroy his race, of course.
“Just a bad day. Nothing else I can say.”
Bortolotti has since been given a five-place grid penalty applied to the next race, having been deemed responsible for the incident by the stewards.
Collision Left Van der Linde in Disbelief
Sheldon van der Linde, running third at the time of the collision ahead, was able to avoid both stationary cars and move through to the lead of the race.
With his third victory of the season, adding to his win tally following his weekend sweep at the Lausitzring, the South African has moved into the lead of the championship.
He now sits at 105 points, 16 points clear of Bortolotti.
Van der Linde admitted afterwards he felt disbelief at the sight of the two cars spinning out ahead of him before having to take avoiding action to not make contact with the stationary Lamborghini.
“I just remember seeing both of them spinning and it was almost like a dream,” Van der Linde said.
“I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing was actually happening in front of me and I was like ‘this can’t be happening right now.’
“Obviously Mirko was right in the middle of the track, so I had to avoid him on the inside.
“I had to really slow down to 40 kilometers per hour. I was almost standing still to try and just get through.
“Luckily I had a gap to the back otherwise I think it would have gotten quite tight with the guy behind.
“Obviously it’s not great for them, taking each other out in the last corner and me winning like that, but every chance you get in life you have to take and we were there at the right moment to capitalize.”