With a dominant victory in Saturday’s race at the Nürburgring, Audi driver René Rast has come a lot closer to winning his second DTM title. Before the last three rounds, the German has an advantage of 47 points over his fellow Audi driver Nico Müller and of 80 over BMW driver Marco Wittmann. A maximum of 84 points are yet to be awarded.
The driver from Audi Sport Team Rosberg already extended his advantage in the overall classification at the Nürburgring in the morning: for the seventh time this year, Rast scored the three additional points for pole position. As a result, the German has netted 30 points just in qualifying in the 2019 season – an absolute record. Everything went according to plan for Rast in the race as well: following a good start, he pulled clear of his immediate rivals, achieved an advantage of about six seconds and subsequently controlled the pace at the front of the field in commanding style. At the finish, he had a more than ten-second advantage over Bruno Spengler in a BMW. “That was a perfect day,” said Rast after his sixth victory this season and the 16th triumph in total in his DTM career. “The car, the strategy, the pit stops: everything today was just perfect. A big ‘well done’ goes to my team that has been doing an outstanding job so far this weekend. That was an important step toward the championship title today. I hope that tomorrow we’re going to have another day like this.” By contrast, the title ambitions of his closest rival, Nico Müller, from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline suffered a bitter blow. The Swiss had secured the third spot on the grid but jump-started and, in 16th position, finished the race out of the points. “The jump start was clearly my own fault,” said Müller. “The lights were red for a long time. I only had the choice between stalling the engine or driving off.” Major misfortune also struck Mike Rockenfeller, who in the home round of Audi Sport Team Phoenix was running directly behind René Rast for 25 laps but then had to park his Audi RS 5 DTM early due to an oil leak in the area of the engine environment. Consequently, Jonathan Aberdein from the customer team WRT Team Audi Sport was the second-best Audi driver. Following a strong race, the South African crossed the finish line in fourth position, even before Loïc Duval and Jamie Green. Robin Frijns fought back from the last spot on the grid to tenth place after having stopped at the start.
“We saw another fantastic race by René (Rast) today,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “In qualifying, he was in a class of his own once again, had a very good start, subsequently controlled the whole race and made no mistakes. It’s unfortunate that Mike (Rockenfeller) was forced to retire – he, too, drove a strong race and would have deserved the runner-up’s finish. Nico (Müller) was perhaps a little too ambitious at the start. After jump-starting, his race was ruined.” On Sunday, René Rast will have the chance to secure the DTM drivers’ title early. To do so, the Audi driver would have to score nine points more than Nico Müller and, at the same time, Marco Wittmann not reduce his deficit to Rast by more than 23 points. However, the teams’ championship will only be decided in the finale at Hockenheim. In it, Audi Sport Team Rosberg is now ahead of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline again by a narrow margin. Sunday’s race will start as usual at 1.30 PM. German channel SAT.1 will begin to air live coverage at 1 PM (CEST).
Press release Audi Sport, picture Audrey Perriard/Sport-Auto.ch]]>