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HomeMotorsports"Almost killed me": Duel trigger for SSR collusion on Sunday?

“Almost killed me”: Duel trigger for SSR collusion on Sunday?

Norisring winner Nicki Thiim admits that there was a clear agreement at SSR Performance before the start: Was it to do with the heated duel with Bortolotti the day before?

Perfect DTM home race for SSR Performance: Nicki Thiim secured his first DTM victory at the Norisring, while Mirko Bortolotti was crowned half-time champion of the season. The excellent starting position after qualifying on Sunday was also a source of controversy. With pole-setter Thiim and Bortolotti, who is in the thick of the title fight, there were two drivers on the front row who were determined to win

“We had a clear plan within the team for the first corner – and it worked really well,” said Thiim, revealing that there was an agreement between him and Bortolotti before the race.

“The plan was what came out. We wanted to come out of the first corner in first and second place. That worked out really well. “

Hot duel between Bortolotti and Thiim on Saturday

The TV pictures also show this: The two drivers accelerated after the red lights went out – and Thiim, who was on the inside lane, and Bortolotti drove towards the Grundig bend without changing lanes and without leaving too much space between them. Bortolotti then managed to stay ahead of Winward Mercedes driver Maro Engel until the stop despite the outside lane.

The fact that SSR played it safe probably had something to do with Saturday, when Thiim came dangerously close to Bortolotti several times in a spectacular battle between several cars for third place. He overtook him on the final lap and took fourth place ahead of the Italian, who lives in Vienna.

This seems to have caused some discussion: Because after taking pole on Sunday morning, Thiim grinned when asked on ran.de about his team boss’s satisfaction: “Yesterday he nearly killed me, but today I’m getting a smooch.” Thiim confirmed whether this had anything to do with the fact that he overtook Bortolotti: “Yes!”

Will there be an announcement at the start? “Of course there will be an announcement,” says Thiim. “But hui … it will be difficult, as I said, emotionally, with the history, when you can finally drive for victory, then it will be difficult to do anything. “

Bortolotti: “Nicki and I know how to race against each other “

Bortolotti said after the race that he and his experienced team-mate were used to dealing with such situations. “Nicki and I have been around long enough to know how to race against each other and that the team always comes before any self-interest,” said the 34-year-old Lamborghini works driver.

“After qualifying, we had the great situation of having both cars on the front row of the grid. So the ultimate goal was to take victory for the team. We’ve often come close with me this season. For example in Oschersleben.” The fact that it has finally worked out is hugely important for SSR Performance

Why was Thiim suddenly so strong?

However, after the races so far this season, it seemed unlikely that Thiim would succeed, as Bortolotti clearly had the upper hand. How does Thiim explain his strong performance, even though he has never driven a GT3 car at the Norisring?

“I haven’t been here since 2016, when I was in the Carrera Cup car. Not much has changed since then – the walls are still where they were back then,” says the 35-year-old. “Of course, the data from last year helped us, but it’s mainly about finding your rhythm. As it’s a street circuit, you have to get into this tunnel as quickly as possible.” He succeeded in doing so.

Bortolotti, who congratulated Thiim on his victory after finishing third behind Engel, admits that he had no chance: “I really struggled a lot in this race right from the start. For me, it was the worst car of the weekend. We have to see why. I couldn’t keep up the pace at the front. “

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