Why Thomas Preining puts himself behind rival Mirko Bortolotti after his championship title and the SSR Lamborghini driver didn’t stand a chance in Sunday’s race
Big cheers for DTM champion Thomas Preining on Sunday after a perfect weekend at Hockenheim with two poles and two wins – and a sportingly fair title rival Mirko Bortolotti, who had still triggered a social media shitstorm on Saturday after his controversial TV statements.
“It’s certainly not easy when you’re in his shoes now,” which was enough for the Porsche driver to win the title. “You lost the championship ten minutes ago. To have the balls there and immediately go and congratulate – that’s really hard to do.”
As for what Bortolotti told Preining in the process? “I just congratulated him for his terrific year – and said it was fun fighting with him until the last day,” said the 33-year-old, who ended up 33 points short.
Preining on Bortolotti action: “He’ll get that back “
Not only after the decisive qualifying session, Bortolotti was there immediately. “He was the first well-wisher after qualifying and after the race,” Preining said after triumphing in Sunday’s final, where he withstood Bortolotti’s pressure. “To fight against him and then also to beat him is really something special.”
Only in one action did Bortolotti go a touch too far for Preining: when he stuck the bottle in his neck during the champagne shower after Sunday’s race. “He’ll get that back,” grinned Preining, whose suit had an intense smell.
Bortolotti: “What goes on social media doesn’t itch me “
That his rival was attacked on socialmedia, Preining thinks is unjustified. “I saw yesterday that he got a lot of bad comments on the Internet,” said the 25-year-old Porsche works driver. “Of course, everyone is allowed to write and do what they want, but I really have to say: he has always been very respectful, the whole season.”
And Bortolotti also speaks up in this regard. “What goes on social media doesn’t itch me at all,” “I know what I say, when I say it and why I say it. Maybe certain people should get some facts before they shoot out gratuitous comments here. “
When he suggested he was being judged more critically than other drivers, he said he responded accordingly because of the reporter’s question. “And not because I was trying to put a negative spin on any people. It wasn’t directed at other drivers, but at the question as it was worded.”
The reporter had spoken of “crowbar” and “risk.” Even after the shitstorm, however, he said he would not change his stance. “I’m not going to back down from expressing my opinion. People can write what they want out there. Let them get their lives together instead of judging mine. “
Why Bortolotti overdid it against Preining on Sunday
In the end, Bortolotti at least managed to give his SSR Performance team second place in the team standings by finishing second on Sunday. Whether victory was possible? “Thomas was super strong, he didn’t make any mistakes,” said Bortolotti. “He managed his race really well and didn’t give me a chance. “