Photo: DTM Media

René Rast takes his first pole position of the season at Misano

Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver René Rast made the most of a cleverly planned tyre strategy to score his first pole position of the 2019 DTM season for this afternoon’s Race 1 at Misano.

Marco Wittmann was unable to take part in the session due to mechanical problems in his BMW M4 DTM, with the Team RMG mechanics fast at work to get Wittmann out on the track. The 2014 and 2016 champion gave up with nine minutes to go.

BMW Team RBM’s Philipp Eng and Joel Eriksson and Team RMG’s Timo Glock, as well as R-Motorsport’s Ferdinand Habsburg and Paul di Resta had their best lap times deleted due to exceeding the track limits after their first runs.

Rast stayed in the pits to preserve tyres, confident that his lap time from his first stint would be enough to stay ahead. Eng had a strong run in his second stint and was set to improve, but going wide at Turn 13 ruined his lap.

Rast scored his first pole position of the season with a lap time of 1:25.294, ahead of Team WRT’s Jonathan Aberdein and Team Phoenix’s Loïc Duval, 0.249 seconds behind, with Team Abt Sportline’s Robin Frijns completing an all-Audi top four.

Team RBM’s Sheldon van der Linde was the fastest BMW driver in fifth position, followed by Team RMG’s Bruno Spengler and Eng.

Two Audis were next with Team Abt Sportline’s Nico Müller in eighth followed by Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller, 0.738 seconds off the pace.

Glock completed the top ten, eight-tenths behind Rast, with Pietro Fittipaldi, replacing Jamie Green at Team Rosberg, right behind.

Jake Dennis was fastest of the Aston Martin Vantage DTM driver to finish 13th, 1.5 seconds off the pace. Audi’s guest driver Andrea Dovizioso qualified in 15th position, 1.7 seconds behind Rast.

Rast said after the session: “My lap was pretty clean, and I checked the data and I saw that maybe I could go slightly quicker, but I think that saving the tyres nowadays is a better option, so we stayed in the pits and hoped that nobody could improve or beat my time. It’s been a long time since I was on pole, it’s three points for the championship, so I’m close to Philipp now.”

The start of Race 1 is scheduled for 13:30 CEST today.