After a hard-fought season, Thomas Preining won the 2023 DTM Championship at Hockenheim last weekend but was made to work for it by Mirko Bortolotti who wasn’t going to make it easy for the Austrian.
Preining looked to be on course to seal the championship in race one on Saturday afternoon with a solid drive from pole position to take only his second victory in this year’s championship. The only man able to deny him was Bortolotti who was struggling down in seventh place but refusing to give up, the Italian got his Lamborghini up to 5th place which would see the title decided in the final race on Sunday.
The result was enough to wrap up the team title for Manthey who saw their first one-two in the championship as Preining’s teammate, Denis Olsen came home in second place which assured the team title while Porsche took the Manufacturer title for the first time in the history of the DTM.
Prenining wouldn’t need to wait for race two to clinch the title, with points available for pole position it would be sufficient for the Austrian to simply claim pole to win the title. With Bortolotti also chasing the extra points it wasn’t until the final moments that Preining put in the fastest lap of the whole weekend. 1:36.800 minutes was enough to put him clear of the pack, claim pole position and in turn, claim his first DTM championship title with a 28-point lead.
Knowing he could now just enjoy the race on Sunday afternoon, Preining didn’t let up and starting from pole was able to round off his championship-winning season with victory from pole position in the final race of the year.
Photos by Sascha Schiwietz
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