Champion Rast on the fast lane
The champion has gained momentum. A lot! René Rast is DTM’s man of the moment. In the previous three races, the Audi driver scored a total of 54 points. More than Gary Paffett (50) and Paul Di Resta (42), the championship leaders.
“Have you witnessed his pace in the past races,” Mercedes-AMG driver Paffett asked rhetorically – to add: “He’s on a roll. As I see it, it’s normal now that René also is fast in the closing stages of the races. That’s something we have to cope with and we ideally should keep on outqualifying him. He does a great job.”
With 77 points on his tally, the reigning champion currently holds ninth position in the championship. And his form is improving more and more. “With the fourth place on Saturday and another podium on Sunday my weekend at Brands Hatch was great. But it’s not only the result that made me happy. The same applies to the way how it was secured by us. I want to keep on racing this way: with good qualifying sessions and by scoring regularly,” Rast says. But he is overmodest: “For me, the fight for the title is over. I just want to secure good race results.” Audi’s catch-up work in the past weeks is bearing ripe fruit.
In the 2017 season, the 31-year old laid the foundation for his title with outstanding qualifying performances. This year, however, he did so only in the qualifying session for the second race of the season kick-off at Hockenheim when he secured second grid position but failed to deliver afterwards. Now, however, he also is on the way back up in this area. In the previous three qualifying sessions he secured third, third and fourth positions on the grid. “In the Sunday qualifying session I still was a tenth of a second slower than Gary. That’s not much but a tenth is a tenth and represents the difference between pole and fourth position on the grid. We tried to make the next steps. We had a good race pace compared to Mercedes – I was able to pressurise them quite a lot. We definitely are more competitive than at the beginning of the season. That’s promising for the coming races,” said the Audi driver who was impressed by the GP circuit located to the south-east of London. “When it comes to qualifying at Brands Hatch you need a lot of courage in the fast bends, particular with a fresh set of tyres and a minimum of fuel in the tank. You are several seconds faster than in the race, in these conditions, and really have to work up your courage to take your car to the limit.”
And Rast was not only delighted with the results he secured at Brands Hatch. At the same time he also praised the tight timetable of the two-day race weekend in Kent County. “I really liked the tight schedule. You had no time for a breather and had to be absolutely focused in every single session right away. From my point of view it was really cool.”