René Rast wins at Zolder, thanks team for night shift

RENÉ Rast is the first driver to have achieved two victories in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters’ (DTM) new turbo era. At the DTM’s return to Zolder, Belgium, the Audi driver won last Sunday’s race in commanding style. His teammate, Jamie Green, perfected Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s triumph by finishing in third position. Mike Rockenfeller from Audi Sport Team Phoenix came fourth.

For Rast, this marked the 12th DTM triumph in total, the eighth in the last ten races, plus a very special one. Following his retirement last Saturday due to a damaged intercooler, his team replaced the engine of his Audi RS 5 DTM overnight as a precaution.

“The guys worked up until the early morning hours,” said Rast. “Even so, my car was immediately perfect again in qualifying last Sunday. A big thank you goes to the guys from my Team Rosberg, and to Audi Sport, who practically prepared the car from scratch again.”

Rast missed pole position by just six thousandths of a second. In the race, he put pressure on pole sitter Sheldon van der Linde in a BMW straight from the start and overtook the South African on the eleventh of 39 laps.

In spite of a safety car period, which caused his advantage to shrink for a short while, the Audi driver crossed the finish line in the end with a clear advantage of nearly ten seconds over Philipp Eng (BMW).

Philipp Eng, René Rast and Jamie Green in a group photo after the race. – AUDI COMMUNICATIONS MOTORSPORT

“This was an incredible victory again,” said Rast. “The new Audi RS 5 DTM is an outstanding race car.” Behind Rast, a fierce battle for the other podium positions was raging in last Sunday’s race. The head-to-head fight saw his teammate, Jamie Green, bump Sheldon van der Linde from third position on the last lap.

“This is my first DTM podium in more than a year,” said the Briton. “From ninth on the grid, that was a very pleasant surprise. It was a superb race that was really good fun.”

Green used the safety car period for a second tyre change. On fresh tyres, the Audi driver battled his way forward in an entertaining final stage from eleventh to third place, with Mike Rockenfeller from Audi Sport Team Phoenix in tow. Rockenfeller had changed tyres late and was able to leverage his tyre advantage on the final laps as well.

Rockenfeller’s teammate, Loïc Duval, was racing with a similar strategy, but dropped out of the points in a tussle after the restart.

For Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, last Sunday ended in disappointment. Robin Frijns, from fourth on the grid, was battling for a podium finish before being forced to retire after a collision about halfway through the race. Nico Müller finished the race in eighth position.

Pietro Fittipaldi scored points again, with the Brazilian clinching an impressive ninth place in the home round of the WRT Team Audi Sport customer team.

“Yesterday (last Saturday) overtaking at Zolder seemed impossible and today (last Sunday) we saw plenty of overtaking manoeuvres and fantastic racing,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “It was an incredible race with an extremely good result for Audi. My thanks go to the entire squad that untiringly worked again this weekend. Without them, this success would not have been possible.” – Audi Media Center