Rast reigns in the rain
Audi’s René Rast may have already sealed the DTM drivers’ title, but there was no sign of the German taking it easy at this weekend’s season finale at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. Demonstrating his traditionally strong qualifying abilities, he posted a lap time of 1m45.552s on a drying track to secure pole position for the 17th and penultimate race of the season.
In tricky conditions, on a wet but drying track, almost every driver took a turn to top the time-sheets – but it was the critical final moments, when the track was at its driest, when a clear lap would be crucial.
For Rast, it was his seventh pole position of the season and the 12th of his DTM career. “It was very tricky again,” he reported. “A drying qualifying. At the end, it worked perfectly for us, even though my fastest lap was not clear. I had two cars in front of me. In the end, I am obviously very happy, I am looking forward to the race now.”
Lining up alongside Rast on the front row of the grid is two-time champion Marco Wittmann, the fastest BMW driver. “Very positive, of course,” he said. “Conditions were very difficult with a drying track. I think we came quite close to putting slicks on, so at the end, you have to save your rain tyres, because it’s obvious that your last lap will be the fastest. I made a little mistake in Turn 12 which probably cost me pole position, but we can be really happy with second place.”
With Mike Rockenfeller, Jonathan Aberdein and Loïc Duval, three Audi drivers followed in third to fifth place.
Jenson Button qualified his Honda NSX-GT a sensational sixth, making him the fastest of the drivers from the Japanse SUPER GT series. Timo Glock (BMW) Robin Frijns (Audi), Sheldon van der Linde and Joel Eriksson (both BMW) round out the top 10.
The R-Motorsport Aston Martins proved to be quite quick in the still-wet conditions in the opening part of the session. Eventually, Ferdinand von Habsburg was the fastest of the quartet in 12th place, just ahead of his team-mates Daniel Juncadella and Jake Dennis.