Rast storms to Sunday pole at Assen
Having yesterday secured the unofficial ‘half-time champion’ title, René Rast got the second half of his DTM season underway in the best possible manner by securing pole position for the second race of the weekend at the TT Circuit Assen.
Already quick on the first of his two runs, Rast then made some changes to his car and charged to a pole-winning time of 1m24.849s, the fastest time of the weekend.
“I’m happy,” a visibly delighted Rast beamed afterwards. “Pole position and three extra points for the championship! Unlike yesterday, my second run was a lot quicker than my first. Obviously, we need a good strategy and a good start – and, hopefully, we’ll get another podium today.”
After a strong drive to sixth in yesterday’s race, South African rookie driver Jonathan Aberdein again impressed, posting a stunning time a mere .132 seconds down on Rast’s pole-winning time. Mike Rockenfeller, Nico Müller and local hero Robin Frijns completed the clean sweep of the first five places for Audi drivers. Frijns was fastest after the first runs, but opted to save tyres for the race rather than having another shot at a better grid position in the second half of qualifying.
Another South African rookie, Sheldon van der Linde, was the fastest BMW driver he lines up sixth on the grid. “I’m extremely happy,” he said. “After yesterday, I knew it would be important to get a good starting position here. It’s also easy to overtake, so it’s going to help us a lot. For sure, the deficit to Audi is quite a bit, so I want to try and do something at the start to make up places.”
Loïc Duval (Audi), Philipp Eng and Timo Glock (both BMW) followed in seventh to ninth place, Pietro Fittipaldi completed a strong qualifying performance from the privateer WRT Audi outfit with 10th place. Dani Juncadella was the fastest of the R-Motorsport Aston Martin drivers in 14th position.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s race winner, Marco Wittmann, suffered a disastrous session. Turbo-charger issues on his BMW prevented the German from completing any significant lappery, and he ended up last.