Commanding Rast sets Nurburgring pole
With a stellar performance in qualifying, Audi driver René Rast claimed his 12th career DTM pole position, his time of 1m19.642s a considerable 0.18s faster than second-placed Bruno Spengler.
The pace-setter in free practice on Friday, the German underlined his pace around the 3.629km Nürburgring sprint circuit by moving up to the top of the time sheets after Saturday morning’s opening qualifying runs.
Astonishingly, on his second run, he even went half a second faster, putting his car on poleand adding a further three points to his championship tally. In the course of the season so far, Rast has scored no fewer than 30 points in qualifying alone.
“A pretty good qualifying,” was the German’s verdict afterwards. “In both runs, we were P1. The car worked very well, thanks to the team. They did an awesome job overnight and with the traffic management today. I just had to nail the lap and it worked out, so very happy!”
Fifth after his first run, Bruno Spengler also upped the ante on his second attempt and progressed into second position, securing his first front row starting grid position for a DTM race since Moscow in 2017!
Canadian Spengler was an encouraging pace-setter for BMW
“I am very happy,” the buoyant Canadian said. “We hadn’t really expected this because, things were much more difficult for us yesterday. We’ve seen that Audi is really strong again, so from that perspective, today was very good. My car has improved considerably, a great job by my engineer and my team to get things together. The race will be tough. I reckon that Audi has a slight advantage over a race distance, but I’ll do my utmost to secure this position or perhaps even move up one place.”
Pole-sitter Rast’s main rival in the title battle, Nico Müller, only found himself in seventh place after the first runs, but the Swiss considerably improved on his second attempt and secured third place ahead of fellow Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller in the home race for both himself and his Phoenix team, based just across the road in the industrial zone at Meuspath.
South African rookie Jonathan Aberdein has shown impressive speed all weekend
WRT Audi’s Jonathan Aberdein and BMW’s Sheldon van der Linde, the two South African rookies in this year’s DTM field, line up alongside each other on the third row of the grid. During the official press conference yesterday, they both reported a significant increase in awareness and media coverage of the DTM in their home country since they joined the series at the start of the season.
BMW’s Timo Glock qualified in seventh place – a praiseworthy effort after a difficult campaign – while the Audi trio of Loïc Duval, Jamie Green and Robin Frijns rounded out the top 10. Paul Di Resta was the fastest Aston Martin driver in 14th.