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Bortolotti “Thought Race Was Over” After Restart Issue

Italian ace says he has “no idea” what led to slow moment off the line during rolling restart…

Photo: DTM

Mirko Bortolotti says he has “no idea” why his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo was slow off the line during the safety car restart at the first DTM race at Portimao in a moment that cost him what had looked like a near-certain victory prior to the incident.

Bortolotti started the race at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve from pole position and appeared to have the race under control after fighting off a challenge from Mercedes driver Mikael Grenier on the opening lap.

The Lamborghini factory driver retained the lead of the race throughout the round of mandatory pitstops, but the course of the race altered when the safety car came out for the first and only time.

Bortolotti saw his lead dashed when his Grasser Racing Team stablemate Rolf Ineichen slowed to a halt immediately after making a pitstop of his own, bringing the No. 19 Lamborghini to a stop at turn one.

The Swiss driver then briefly resumed before coming to a definitive stop later in the lap.

After the safety car came in, Bortolotti was tasked with leading the field to green but unexpectedly failed to pick up speed when the green flag dropped.

This resulted in the immediate loss of several positions as second-placed Lucas Auer shot into the lead ahead of Luca Stolz and Maro Engel.

Bortolotti dropped to sixth, but charged back up in the closing stages surpassing Maximilian Götz and Ricardo Feller before unseating Maro Engel on the final lap to recover with a podium finish.

“I think we had quite a good day until the restart, where unfortunately an issue cost us a better result than what we had in the end,” Bortolotti said.

“A great first part of the day, really happy with the pole position this morning and obviously the first part of the race was really good for us.

“I could benefit from Lucas and Mikael fighting a little bit behind me so I could open up a little gap at the beginning and were running quite similarly after that.

“Pitstop was great from the guys, seemed like we had the race under control, but then unfortunately as we all saw, the restart was not as good as I wanted it to be.

“But at the end of the day, I think we can still be happy because in that moment I thought it was over.

“I had a massive loss of power in that moment, so I thought ‘okay, that’s it.’

“Luckily, I could accelerate immediately after [that] and recover a good position and good points for us today.”

The cause of the issue that led Bortolotti to drop back currently remains unclear.

He hinted on following the race that the cause was potentially mechanical in nature, claiming that he had “no power” and used the word misfire during the post-race press conference.

When asked, he said that is unsure of the exact cause of the issue and that the team would have to investigate further ahead of the second race of the weekend on Sunday. 

“I have no idea,” Bortolotti said.

“Honestly, we will need to investigate it and find out what happened.

“Rolf [Ineichen] had an issue as well after the pitstop, so it could be something similar, I don’t know.

“We need to check first and then hopefully we find the issue and it does not happen again.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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