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Bortolotti: Everybody still a rival in 2022 DTM title race

Autosport logo Autosport 5/7/2022 James Newbold

Grasser Lamborghini driver Bortolotti reclaimed the top spot from Sheldon van der Linde at the Norisring on Sunday after finishing second to Felipe Fraga as his Schubert BMW rival van der Linde finished outside the points in 15th.  

Bortolotti now heads the standings by nine points over the South African after notching his fourth podium finish of the season, although he is yet to win a race. 

Ahead of the championship’s mid-season hiatus, before action resumes at the Nurburgring on the final weekend of August, Bortolotti explained that he was “really proud we’ve been seven times out of eight races in the points” in a tight season where 13 different drivers have finished on the podium so far.   

“It’s such a high level of field that you never know who is going to be the one to beat at the next weekend, which makes GT racing so special,” said the Italian. 

“It’s just about maximising what you’ve got day after day, getting the maximum result. 

“We worked really well in the first half, but we need to keep this up.  

“We have a break now, so we focus on other things and we try to come back strong in the second half of the season.” 

Asked by Autosport’s German language sister title Motorsport-Total who he considered as his closest rival, the Italian responded: “Everybody still.  

“It’s half-distance only, so it’s good to have had a good first-half of the season, to be consistent in the points, that pleases me a lot.  

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done all together to this point and it’s still half a season to go, so it’s way too early to talk about any congratulations or a championship.”  

Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 © Autosport.com Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3

Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Speaking to Autosport after his second non-score of the weekend, having been eliminated from race one in a pileup at the first corner, van der Linde said that “my expectations were not particularly high for this weekend anyway”. 

Read Also:DTM drivers have more start clarity after Norisring incidents – van der Linde

However, he stressed that “all the cards are still on the table” after the summer break with a run of tracks coming up that he believes will be favourable to the new M4 GT4. 

“We’re still second in the championship, we have Spa and Red Bull Ring now which are two really good tracks, so yeah, let’s see,” he said. 

First-time DTM winner Fraga said he wasn’t writing off his title chances either, despite a run of five non-finishes “that hurt a lot our championship”.  

Stating that he too was “just thinking to go by race-by-race,” the Red Bull Ferrari driver said “I don’t want to even think about the championship” after breaking his win duck.  

Read Also:“Life goal” achieved for “proud” Fraga after first DTM win

“I think yeah, there’s always a chance,” the Brazilian replied when asked to assess his title prospects by Motorsport-Total.  

“Coming here, I was doing some counts and the leader of the championship was doing an average of 10 points per weekend.  

“Basically when Sheldon had a crazy weekend in Lausitzring [winning both races], he was there. It’s not game over, for sure, there’s still a long way to go.  

“But I just don’t want to talk too much about it because I started this season strong in terms of pace and I was never even crossing the line. 

“So now I did it, I just hope we stay like this.” 

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