Apparently not - the burnout is by design (especially in the non-arcade mode), to send you to the back, so that the rest of the round is spent catching up to the CPU and *hopefully* coming in first place. Otherwise, even on highest difficulty, you'd quickly get to first place and just.. stay there, uncontested.
But! Even with the burnout, you are able to stay in the CPU's slipstream, which should give you enough momentum to stay relatively close and not fall really far behind.
Failing that, it's not impossible to win even when you're forced to start at 20th place :)