What a story! In 2016, René Rast made an unexpected debut quite literally overnight in the DTM at Zandvoort. At that time he replaced Adrien Tambay, who had been injured the day before, in Audi Sport Team Rosberg. In 2017, Rast won the title as rookie at the first attempt, but had a difficult weekend in Zandvoort. Two years after his debut he ended Audi’s lean spell in the current DTM season in the dunes on the North Sea.
The defending Champion took his fourth victory in the DTM using a risky strategy: starting the race from third on the grid, the German changed tires after only one lap and with this strategy moved ahead of Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) and Philipp Eng (BMW). After Paffett had also completed his pit stop, Rast extended his lead to almost three seconds before the safety car was deployed and duly nullified his advantage. However, at the restart Rast held his lead and defended first place against the championship leader all the way to the finish.
“The last 15 minutes were the hardest that I have ever experienced in a race,” said Rast, who completed 34 laps with one set of tires around the tire-killing track. “I didn’t expect this result before the race. However, we took an extremely risky strategy and I had a mega car that was consistently fast. So we could fight with Mercedes-Benz for victory. This win is incredibly refreshing after the long run of bad luck this year.”
“What a race. Incredible!” said Rast’s team director Arno Zensen. “You can only congratulate René for this performance. When of all people (his teammate) Jamie (Green) caused the safety car phase I nearly died. But René brought the victory home. Of course we are over the moon to have finally won a race again. Thanks to Audi for the fantastic car and the clever strategy!”