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Autosport High 50 of 2023: #39 Thomas Preining

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Thomas Preining had already marked himself out as a future champion throughout his rookie DTM season in 2022 with the single-car Crew Bernhard operation. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that he delivered on that promise in his sophomore marketing campaign this 12 months after being given a plum seat on the Manthey EMA squad.

Whereas his tempo within the Porsche 911 GT3-R was apparent, his consistency in the end gained him the title: he completed all 16 races contained in the factors, together with 11 within the prime 5. A double victory on the Hockenheim finale, towards an in-form Mirko Bortolotti, proved past any doubt that the 25-year-old Austrian was a deserving winner.

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How Preining acquired the higher of Bortolotti in DTM title combat

The 33-point successful margin for Preining doesn’t fairly encapsulate the depth of the 2023 season, because the championship battle swung forwards and backwards between him and his SSR Lamborghini counterpart Bortolotti. However whereas Bortolotti’s outcomes fluctuated all year long, Preining was at all times there or thereabouts, as he led Porsche to an unimaginable title treble in solely its second full season within the class.

The Austrian was in control from the outset and would have been victorious within the second race at Oschersleben had his Manthey EMA crew not been penalised for briefly leaving a tyre in the pitlane. The weird rule was modified earlier than the next spherical at Zandvoort, the place Preining bagged one other podium end to take the factors lead. But it surely was on the Norisring the place he actually shone.

Photograph by: Andreas Beil

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Preining kickstarted his DTM title cost with a surprising victory at Norisring

Having acquired his pitstop out of the way in which early, Preining displayed beautiful tempo on recent tyres and overtook Schubert BMW duo Sheldon van der Linde and Rene Rast to attain victory on the DTM’s most prestigious occasion.

At this stage of the season, Bortolotti was solely sixth within the standings and had already watched his stablemate Franck Perera steal the highlight from him by claiming Lamborghini’s historic maiden win within the DTM.

However after a sluggish begin to the 12 months, Bortolotti pulled off an unimaginable victory within the subsequent spherical on the Nurburgring, earlier than turning into the primary double winner of the season simply two weeks later on the Lausitzring to grab the championship lead.

One other win adopted on the Sachsensring and out of the blue there was a brand new favorite for the title. Nevertheless, simply when the momentum was on his aspect, Bortolotti picked up a puncture on the Crimson Bull Ring after being tapped on the opening lap by Porsche driver Marvin Dienst. A Twenty first-place end was all he might handle, his second non-score after a mysterious DNS at the Nurburgring, and out of the blue Preining was again within the field seat once more.

A ten-point distinction stored the title combat comparatively open at Hockenheim, however Preining made it a one-man present as he dominated each qualifying periods and races on the former Method 1 venue to clinch the championship in fashion. It was precisely the type of efficiency Porsche anticipated from Preining, and he was duly rewarded with a maiden LMDh test just weeks later in Bahrain.

 
A Porsche LMDh test as reward for his DTM title ended Preining's year on a high

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

A Porsche LMDh take a look at as reward for his DTM title ended Preining’s 12 months on a excessive



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