GRT was presented with a challenging Sunday at the Lamborghini home race in Imola. After his spectacular fightback to a podium finish on the previous day, Mirko Bortolotti achieved a hard-fought tenth place in the second race. Clemens Schmid and the Lamborghini factory driver had taken P5 and P10 in qualifying with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO despite carrying extra weight. In a turbulent race, Mirko Bortolotti’s points result proved to be the maximum for Grasser Racing. In the driver standings, the Italian is in second position after three of eight race weekends. GRT is currently in fourth place in its debut year in the DTM.
Mirko Bortolotti started Sunday with a double disadvantage due to extra weight and additional success ballast. Starting from tenth on the grid, he defended himself masterfully against the competition in the early stages of the race. Driving in ninth position, he headed for the pits on the fifth lap during a safety car period. A hectic restart then threw the 32-year-old local hero back to 14th place. In an intense second stint, he fought the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO back to tenth place. In the overall standings he maintained second place with 68 points.
With his best result in the high-calibre DTM field, Alessio Deledda continued his learning curve in race two. The GT3 rookie made further progress with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO on the 4.909 km long Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. After 33 laps, he was classified 16th in the field of 28 competitors, with his lap times once again being quick enough to catch up with the field. With his sixth finish from six races, the 27-year-old from Rome also gathered more important kilometres.
Clemens Schmid was unable to repeat his excellent P6 from Saturday. In qualifying, the 31-year-old from Austria confirmed his good form as the best-placed Lamborghini driver. However, his fifth place on the grid was not rewarded in the race. In the early stages, he easily held his own in the chasing pack behind the leaders. After his car was damaged in the pitlane and during the restart due to collisions that were no fault of his own, he had to retire later on.
For the fourth driver of the GRT squad, the second race lasted only two laps. Rolf Ineichen initially made up seven positions in the early stage and was 19th. In heavy traffic, it came to a collision with another car when the 44-year-old Swiss was unable to reduce his speed sufficiently under braking. After the contact, he had to end his race on the spot.
Mirko Bortolotti (ITA)
#63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO
Qualifying: P10 – Race: P10
Mirko Bortolotti: “It was a difficult Sunday for us. P10 in qualifying was all we had in the car. In the race we were forced to stop early under safety car this time, which then gave us no opportunity to gain positions utilising strategy. Fighting in the pack I had to focus on defending as we didn’t have the pace to attack.”
Alessio Deledda (ITA)
#6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO
Qualifying: P28 – Race: P16
Alessio Deledda: “I had hoped for more in qualifying. In the end, we were one lap short because we went out late. But as far as the pace on one lap is concerned, I still have to improve anyway. The speed in the race though was pretty good, even though we had more weight on board. I kept up with the field and was happy with my lap times. I was doing alright until six laps before the finish, then I had a hard time on the brakes and I also got a bit tired because of the heat. But all in all, I am very happy with the weekend.”
Clemens Schmid (AUT)
#85 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO
Qualifying: P5 – Race: DNF
Clemens Schmid: “The race was pure frustration for me. From our side, it was actually a good day. We had great pace and everything went according to plan in qualifying. Then in the race we got bumped into from all sides. I was hit by several competitors in the pits and at the restart. Some drivers showed an attitude that really left me at a loss for words. After a few laps, my car was so battered that we had no chance. The steering and the exhaust were damaged and we could only retire from the race.”
Rolf Ineichen (SUI)
#19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO
Qualifying: P26 – Race: DNF
Rolf Ineichen: “Unfortunately, my race is quickly told. I got off to a good start and had a problem shortly afterwards. I couldn’t stop properly when braking for turn 18. I tried to avoid him but unfortunately hit the Porsche of Thomas Preining. I am very unhappy about the incident. It’s never a nice feeling when you collide with someone. A big sorry for this unpleasant situation. We have to look into what went wrong there.”
Gottfried Grasser, Team Principal of GRT: “It was a tough race for us with the adjusted balance of performance. In qualifying it became clear that it would be very difficult for us. Over a race distance, the additional weight came even more into play. On top of that Mirko was driving with success ballast from his third place on Saturday. With this pace, we were just about able to finish inside the top-ten. The outcome was a shame for Clemens because he put in a fantastic performance this weekend. After two great qualifying sessions and the great result on Saturday, he deserved more. Rolf also had a tricky day with his early retirement, but he has been around long enough and knows the sport. We will investigate the reasons for the incident and attack again at the Norisring. What we are very happy about is Alessio’s performance. He has continuously improved over the three days here in Imola. 16th place is a nice success for him on his path.”
Source. GRT Grasser Racing/Photo. Gruppe C Photography