Mirko Bortolotti secured his third DTM pole position on Saturday at the Nürburgring before going on to win his first race in the series. The Italian driver set a time of 1:25.118 minutes, which was 0.827 seconds quicker than the previous year’s pole time set by Sheldon van der Linde.
Bortolotti won the Pirelli Pole Position Award and earned three points in the title race. Championship leader Thomas Preining would be starting the race from the second position in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Preining will be looking to maintain his lead in the standings after races seven and eight at the Nürburgring. The Austrian driver is currently five points ahead of Bortolotti, and he will be hoping to extend his advantage with a strong performance this weekend.
Preining has been in good form this season, and he has won two races so far. He will be confident of challenging for the podium at the Nürburgring, and would have been hoping to start the race from pole position.
Ricardo Feller and Kelvin van der Linde from Abt Sportsline team followed in third and fourth place. Jack Aitken finished fifth for Emil Frey Racing in a Ferrari 296 GT3.
An exciting qualifying session saw pole position determined in the final minutes. Fast lap times flooded in as the session concluded on the 3.629-kilometer Eifel Mountains track with Bortolotti and Preining engaged in a battle for the top spot on the timing sheet. Bortolotti came out on top setting the fastest time on his seventh lap.
In free practice, Bortolotti was the only driver below 1:26.000 minutes, but in qualifying, more than 20 drivers achieved the feat illustrating how close the competition is.
At the start of the race Bortolotti took control of the field from the moment the lights went out, with Preining and Feller maintaining their positions behind him. Auer made an impressive climb from eighth to fourth, with Aitken securing fifth place in a Ferrari 296 GT3.
After half an hour, the rain started. Christian Engelhart driving the #99 TokSport WRT Porsche lost the car on braking for turn one and collided with Ayhancan Güven in the #24 Kus Team Bernard Porsche that took both out of the race bringing about a full course yellow.
Most drivers used the yellow phase for mandatory pit stops. Nearly all drivers opted for Pirelli slicks despite the rain. However, on lap 28, Deledda skidded into the gravel, triggering a safety car deployment.
Perera used the safety car period to pit behind Bortolotti, giving him a strategic advantage. Auer pursued Bortolotti for the lead, but he was unable to pass him. Preining, Feller, and Dennis Olsen secured the top three positions, while Marco Wittmann climbed to sixth as the best-placed BMW driver.
Sheldon van der Linde gained eight positions for seventh, and Kelvin van der Linde made an impressive comeback to eighth place. Niederhauser and Vermeulen rounded out the top ten.
Please consider making a donation so we can keep bringing you our best content from the racetrack.