“I still can’t believe it,” said the 32-year-old German, who only found out that he won the title as early as in the season’s third from last race from his race engineer on team radio after crossing the finish line. “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.”
“We didn’t expect to win the championship so early and, above all, not in such a dominant way,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass, after Audi had taken the top seven spots in Sunday’s race. “René (Rast) 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. ‘Thank you’ to all who made this outstanding success possible: It’s fantastic to work with such a great team! Today, we’re going to have a big party. And afterwards, we’ll look forward to the finale at Hockenheim together with the cars from the Japanese Super GT. That’s going to be another absolute highlight.”
Following his victory on Saturday, Rast, with second place in qualifying – just one thousandth of a second behind Jamie Green – and third position in the race scored exactly the number of points he need for his early title win. Before the last two rounds, the driver from Audi Sport Team Rosberg has an unreachable 56-point advantage over his closest rival, Nico Müller, from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.
After a sensor defect in qualifying, Müller started from 14th position. In his 100th DTM race, the Swiss fought back to the fifth spot before losing one position and along with it his last chance for the title shortly before the end of the race. “I pitted early and in the end was struggling with my tires,” said Müller. “After qualifying, it was clear that it would be a difficult race for us. Sixth place was the maximum. Unfortunately, the title race has now been decided. I’m happy for René and Audi, who did a great job and deserve the title. But of course I’d have liked postponing the title decision to the finale at Hockenheim.”
Rast’s teammate Jamie Green secured pole position and victory in Sunday’s race. The Briton prevailed against Rast in a direct duel and at the end of the race defended himself against the attacks by Robin Frijns who challenged him on fresher tires in the final stage. “I didn’t even know anymore what a victory in the DTM feels like,” said Green. “My last victory was two years ago. All I can say is: it feels fantastic! It was a superb battle today. All Audi drivers wanted to win. I’m happy that I saved victory across the finish line.”
With Loïc Duval, Jonathan Aberdein, Nico Müller and Mike Rockenfeller in positions four, five, six and seven, Audi celebrated a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 success on Sunday, marking the so far best result of a manufacturer in the new turbo era of the DTM.
Audi is assured of winning the title in the teams’ championship, too, with Audi Sport Team Rosberg and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline going head to head for it in the finale at Hockenheim on October 5 and 6.