For Rast, it’s only maximum attack
The DTM’s ‘Fab Four’ convened for the regular press conference on Friday prior to the race weekend. While Marco Wittmann, fourth in the standings with 143 points, was rather confined to the spectator’s role, Audi driver René Rast still has outside chances to defend his title. “The season finale is always a highlight, you want to bow out with a decent result. Last year, I succeeded in doing so and that is my personal goal again,” said Wittmann, who was victorious in the Motodrom on Sunday last year.
Mercedes-AMG drivers Gary Paffett (225 points) and Paul Di Resta (229 points) are the spearhead of the points’ standings. In 2017, rookie driver Rast made up 21 points on his fellow Audi driver Mattias Ekström in the final two races. This year, he is 26 and 30 points down on the two drivers of the three-pointed star. A difficult endeavour. “I am equally relaxed as last year. I didn’t think at all about how things should end for me to win the title. We have no pressure. We are third in the standings, nobody can take that away from us. Paul and Gary can’t afford to make any big mistakes. However, they are also still fighting between themselves. That could be helpful for me. I have nothing to lose anymore. For me, it is only about driving flat-out and maximum attack,” Rast says.
All drivers in the front-running trio have the same goal: scoring many points, making few mistakes. “Coming to Hockenheim and being in a position to become champion is a good feeling. It will be a tough fight. I am in a good position and I am confident. However, I am only concentrating on myself and will change nothing in my preparation. Good qualifyings, good races and then I can become champion,” Paffett said. At the start of the season, he won at Hockenheim after an epic duel with Timo Glock. Di Resta adds: “Admittedly, I am the leader, but everything can still happen. There are always highs and lows. You can’t make any predictions. I am hoping for a fair three-way battle. It is all about doing your job in the best possible way. We have some exciting days ahead of us.”
One thing is certain as well, it will be an emotional affair. For three decades, Mercedes-AMG had been one of the pillars of the series. Many will be missing the three-pointed star on the bonnet. “Only when the chequered flag has been waved on Sunday, I will probably realise that an era has come to an end. 30 years of Mercedes-AMG in the DTM, in half of which I was involved as a driver. That does make one a bit sad. Mercedes-AMG has been an important part of the DTM. It will be a strange feeling when I am packing up my things on Sunday night,” Paffett says. However, he will not be having much time to think. On Monday, the Brit will already be flying to Valencia for Formula E testing. Be it with our without the champion’s trophy in his luggage.