Brazilian Felipe Fraga in the Red Bull AF Corse-run 488 GT3 Evo 2020 took a second place finish in today’s DTM race in Portimão. Sébastien Loeb finished his weekend with an 18th place finish.
Overtaking. The race proved more linear than yesterday’s and produced a tough battle amongst the leading positions with the frontrunners churning out blistering lap times. Among them, Fraga managed to overtake Bortolotti before trying to whittle down the gap to Nico Müller who, having started from pole position, was holding on to the lead. Starting from 27th place, Sébastien Loeb began a progression that saw him claw back several positions and notch up some fine times in spite of the cluttered track.
Undercut. Fraga, meanwhile, tried to play catch-up with Müller with an undercut – a strategy which allowed the Brazilian to reduce the gap to just under two seconds. At this point, the no. 74 Ferrari driver engaged in a close-quarters combat with the Audi counterpart, full of attacks and responses until at least three laps from the end, at which point Fraga opted to look after the tyres and the position through to the chequered flag. The driver from Jacundá went on to claim his first podium in his second DTM race, while for Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse, it was the 15 podium since their debut in the category in 2021.
Comeback. Loeb, meanwhile, opted for a different strategy from his team-mate, making his mandatory pit stop on lap 23, at which point the nine-time world rally champion in the AlphaTauri AF Corse 488 GT3 Evo 2020 was in second place overall, after his rivals’ stops. Coming back out on track in twentieth place, the Frenchman continued to work his way up the order to eighteenth overall place, thus completing the weekend with two solid performances in which his talent had allowed him to fight on equal terms with even the most experienced DTM drivers.
Points. With these results both Fraga and AF Corse move up in the standings and join the group of drivers in pursuit of the leader of the general standings, Mirko Bortolotti.
Felipe Fraga: “It was a good weekend, even considering what happened yesterday because we still showed we were able to fight for fourth place in qualifying before suffering the crash that put us out of the race early. This morning we set the third fastest lap time, while in the race I really wanted to finish in the top five to pick up some important points. The start went smoothly this time and I managed to take advantage of a minor mistake from Bortolotti in the early laps to overtake him. I tried my best to attack Müller but he was faster than me today, so I’m happy with second place and setting the fastest lap time in the race. Now we have a couple of weeks to prepare for the next race at Lausitzring. I’m happy to be in the leading group after all the testing we’ve done together with the team. I think we’re working very well together and have the same objective.”
Sébastien Loeb: “My race pace wasn’t bad considering I was making my debut in the series and the level is very high. I’m not so happy with the result as I think I could have done better in qualifying and when you start in 27th place it’s difficult to get a good result. In the race I was able to get involved in some good battles and pull back some positions but qualifying played a big part in the final outcome. I had fun this weekend, the car is nice to drive and the team did a great job, so I was happy to race with them this weekend. I probably lacked a bit of preparation compared to the other drivers, but the championship is good and overall I enjoyed it.”
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