Photo: Audi Mediacenter

René Rast on his second DTM title: “I still can’t believe it!”

Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver René Rast secured his second drivers’ title in the DTM after finishing third at in race two at the Nürburgring, gaining enough advantage in the classification to settle the championship fight ahead of the season finale at Hockenheim in three weeks’ time.

Rast qualified in second place after being beaten by just one thousandth of a second by team-mate Jamie Green. At the start, Rast took the lead, but was undercut by Green after both completed their obligatory pit stops.

Later, a charging Robin Frijns, with much fresher tyres, overtook Rast to leave him third at the chequered flag.

As his main rival, Frijns’ team-mate Nico Müller, could only manage to sixth after suffering from tyres degradation, Rast had built the 56-point gap he needed to secure his second title in the DTM.

“I still can’t believe it,” said Rast after the race. “What a year! We were extremely strong nearly everywhere. Clinching the title even before the last race weekend is incredible. Team Rosberg, which did a fantastic job, has a really big part in this. And Audi of course: the Audi RS 5 DTM has been the best car this year, with the best turbo engine.”

Rast wasn’t aware of clinching the title until he was told via radio after crossing the finish line having been unaware of where his rival was on track.

“Until the very end, I didn’t know whether it was enough because I didn’t know in which position Nico Müller had finished,” he said. “It’s a bit like my first title win – it came unexpectedly.

“Nevertheless, it was on the cards here. We’ve had a great season, we were competitive throughout. Of course, I’m mega happy.”

Rast is now coming to the end of his third full season in the DTM, having won two titles and claiming 16 victories in 56 races, an impressive record.

“We didn’t expect to win the championship so early and, above all, not in such a dominant way,” said Audi Motorsport boss Dieter Gass. “René is now a two-time DTM Champion – and deservedly so in every respect. He’s shown an impressive season. Congratulations to him, to his team, but also to the whole Audi family.”

Müller had trouble with a sensor during qualifying, starting from 14th on the grid. In the race the Swiss pitted early on lap 10 and, despite climbing up to fifth place, he couldn’t resist Jonathan Aberdein’s attacks, crossing the line in sixth place.

“I pitted early and in the end was struggling with my tyres,” said Müller. ”Unfortunately, the title race has now been decided. I’m happy for René and Audi, who did a great job and deserve the title.”

DTM umbrella organisation ITR’s chairman Gerhard Berger also praised Rast for his achievement.

“Congratulations to Audi and René Rast on winning the title,” he said. “They have been the benchmark throughout. René Rast is a very special driver: he works hard and leaves nothing to chance. Under pressure; in the rain; in sunshine; he always delivers. Now, we’re looking forward to the season finale at Hockenheim.”

With the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships already decided, the only crown still to be fought is the teams’ title, with Audi outfits Team Rosberg and Team Abt Sportsline in contention.