Practically on the finish straight René Rast from Audi Sport Team Rosberg snatched the title from seasoned campaigner Mattias Ekström. The Swede had entered the final weekend with a 21-point advantage but, in eleventh place, scored no points on Saturday and, following a five-place grid penalty, only came eighth on Sunday. As a result, Rast, with a sixth place on Saturday and a second place on Sunday, managed to convert his 21-point deficit to Ekström into a razor-thin three-point advantage.
“René drove an incredible season,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “There was good reason why we brought him into our DTM squad and we expected him to deliver good performances. But that he’d be battling for the title right in his first DTM year – and even winning it in the end – that’s something no-one really expected, not even René himself. One of the decisive factors was his basic speed. He was the best qualifier this year. I’m also happy for Audi Sport Team Rosberg. The team worked long and hard to finally win a DTM title. Now, with the drivers’ and the teams’ classifications, they scored even two in one go.”
René Rast’s 2017 rookie season was impressive. Right in the Hockenheim season opener he started from the front row for the first time. Two weeks later, the first podium in his young DTM career followed at the Lausitzring and the first victory on the third race weekend at Budapest. With that, Rast took the lead of the standings for the first time as well, which subsequently changed several times between the German and Mattias Ekström. At Moscow and at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Rast clinched two more victories. Plus, his tally reflects three pole positions and a total of four fastest race laps.
“My goal was to become the best rookie,” says René Rast. “I wanted to learn, regularly score points and always finish a race well. Before the season, who’d have thought that I’d instantly be battling for the title? That’s why, in the finale, I actually couldn’t lose anymore. I approached the weekend without pressure and now am overjoyed that it all worked out. My thanks go to Audi who gave me the opportunity to enter the DTM at the age of 30 and this fantastic car, to Team Rosberg in which I felt comfortable from day one and also to my teammate, Jamie Green. He’s one of the fastest drivers in the DTM and once again suffered incredible misfortune.”