Serial winner René Rast keeps title race open with fourth consecutive DTM victory
In the DTM, it remains thrilling until the very end. At Spielberg, René Rast continued his winning streak. The Audi driver also won the race in Austria on Sunday and thus achieved a historic sequence. After the Nürburgring weekend – in the Eifel, he claimed both pole positions and both race wins a fortnight ago – he now made it four consecutive wins and thus equals Klaus Ludwig (1989), Nicola Larini (1993) and Alessandro Nannini (1993/1994 and 1996) who also achieved this feat. In the new DTM since 2000, no driver prior to Rast won this often in a row. “Yet another unbelievable weekend,” Rast said after the race. “I am grateful for the great car, the great team and the team work.” Second place in the 18th DTM race of the season went to Nico Müller with another Audi RS 5 DTM. Gary Paffett completed the podium in third place. Prior to the season finale at Hockenheim, Paffett is now four points down on Paul Di Resta in the drivers’ standings. Di Resta finished fourth in Styria. At Hockenheim, Di Resta, Paffett and Rast will decide the battle for the drivers’ title between them.
The race at Spielberg on Sunday increases the anticipation for the finale at Hockenheim even further: all three title candidates were at an equal level with the better outcome for Rast, who secured the 100th DTM race win for Audi in the process. “Four races ago, I was still 100 points down, now it is 30. I am mega happy, things can continue like this,” Rast said. “Four consecutive wins is something I haven’t experienced in other race series either. In the hard-fought DTM, this really is something special.” Rast, who arrived at the 2017 season finale 21 points down on the leader and eventually won the drivers’ title, promises: “At Hockenheim, I will be fighting to become champion again.”
That is also the goal of the two Mercedes-AMG drivers Di Resta and Paffett. The latter predicts a great finale: “Only four points between me and Paul. I am really happy to be fighting for the championship there. I had hoped for more from this pole position and intended to head to Hockenheim as the leader. That didn’t work out. Nevertheless, I will be doing my utmost.”
For BMW, it was rookie driver Joel Eriksson who scored the best result on Sunday. The Swede finished fifth with his BMW M4 DTM while his fellow BMW driver Timo Glock in seventh and local hero Philipp Eng in ninth place also scored points for the Munich-based brand.
Mercedes-AMG celebrates the first title at Spielberg
In one classification, the title has already been wrapped up at Spielberg on Sunday: after qualifying, Mercedes-AMG had already sealed an early manufacturers’ title. Prior to the finale at Hockenheim, the brand from Stuttgart is beyond reach for the opposition from Munich and Ingolstadt. Mercedes-AMG is in front with 865 points, no longer within reach from BMW (563) and Audi (483).
Ogier: “The DTM was great fun”
After Mattias Ekström in the DTM season opener at Hockenheim and Alessandro Zanardi in the first-ever DTM night race at Misano, rally ace Sébastien Ogier was the third guest driver of the current season at Spielberg. After his twelfth place in the turbulent race on Saturday, the five-time World Rally Champion finished 17th on Sunday. “That was a great experience for me. It is entirely different than rallying,” Ogier commented. “In fact, I had a race of two halves today. In the first half, I was unable to see properly due to oil on the windscreen, but in the second part, I was behind ‘Rocky’ and I was able to keep up. Admittedly, I didn’t overtake him, but it was great fun.”
After a three weeks’ break, the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg will serve as the venue for the DTM finale with the decision in the battle for the drivers’ title from 12–14 October, 2018. The situation in the drivers’ standings promises excitement: at 229 points, Paul Di Resta is only four points ahead of his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett (225). Serial winner René Rast (199) is the third driver also in with a chance.