René Rast takes nothing for granted despite record breaking victory
Audi Sport driver René Rast pulled off a spectacular drive from last position after stalling on the grid to a solid victory in today’s DTM race at the Norisring, not only leaving his rivals behind on the track but also strengthening his position in the championship.
The Team Rosberg driver stalled his Audi RS 5 DTM at the start of the race, falling to the last place of the pack until he managed to restart the engine.
“I was too greedy with the clutch release,” Rast told TouringCarTimes. “The car stalled and I had to wait for the pack to pass to start the car again.”
The moment was a scary one for the 2017 champion: “I was watching my rear view mirror camera and waiting for somebody to hit me. But everybody reacted very well and was very professional,” he added.
Rast’s original strategy was different to the one he used in the race, which was set by the possibility of a safety car intervention: “I stayed out until the safety car. I decided to bring forward my pit stop and then the safety car came out. The situation with the SC is a bit different this year, you have to give and take and you never know when it may work in your favour or against you.”
The Audi driver made the most of his fresh tyres to recover ground after his pit stop, reaching second place on lap 26. When fellow Audi driver Nico Müller pitted, Rast inherited the lead, building it to a massive 34.498-second margin at the chequered flag, the biggest victory margin in the DTM at the Norisring.
“I knew I was the first to pit when the safety car came out, so I tried to make the most of it,” Rast said. “Later, when I knew I had a 30-40-second gap, I tried to not force the tyres to make it to the end.”
Despite winning by the largest margin ever at the Norisring and increasing his lead in the championship, Rast refuses to take anything for granted.
“Do you know who came to the Norisring last year leading the championship? Timo Glock (BMW),” added Rast. “And where did he finish in the championship? Exactly, nobody knows. So everything can change, we cannot say what’s going to happen at the end of the year.”
Rast leads the championship with 118 points, 21 ahead of Müller and 27 over BMW’s Philipp Eng.