René Rast continues to write motorsport history: The Audi driver secured his second title in 2019 in his third full DTM season. As a rookie in 2017, the German had immediately become champion of the touring car series. In 2018, Rast clinched the runner-up spot.
322 points, eight pole positions, seven victories this season and a total of 13 podium places: At the wheel of the 2019 Audi RS 5 DTM, René Rast set new DTM success benchmarks in a commanding and superior manner. After 2017, the German won the drivers’ title for the second time last year. Rast is thus the first DTM Champion of the new turbo era. In 2019, more than 610 hp four-cylinder two-liter turbocharged engines replaced the V8 naturally aspirated engines used since 2000.
“I’ve long dreamed of being able to drive in the DTM. The fact that I’ve won the title twice now is incredible,” says Rast. “René has again shown an impressive season and deserves to be champion for the second time,” explained Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass after Rast had secured the 2019 Drivers’ Championship two races before the end of the season.
Title defender Rast is only the seventh driver in DTM history to win the prestigious title in his rookie season. Yet the German had only contested three DTM races before the 2017 season: At Zandvoort in July 2016 he had literally filled in overnight for Adrien Tambay at Audi Sport Team Rosberg. Without any preparation, Rast left such a good impression that he was allowed to replace Mattias Ekström at the 2016 finale at Hockenheim. In sixth place, Rast scored the first points in his second DTM race straight away and thus recommended himself for a regular place in the Audi DTM squad.
Twelve months later, Rast snatched the DTM title from Mattias Ekström on the home straight. “René has driven an incredible season in 2017,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “We brought him into our DTM squad for a reason and expected him to perform well. However, nobody really expected him to fight for the title in his first DTM year – and win it in the end as well. Not even René himself. His basic speed was a decisive factor. He was the best qualifier in 2017.”
At the beginning of the 2018 season, the champion suddenly had nothing going on. The low point was a spectacular rollover at the Lausitzring. After the overall difficult start to the season for Audi, Rast was 104 points behind in 15th place in the standings after nine races. But with a remarkable recovery, the Audi driver managed to make up 100 points and win seven races, including the last six – as the first DTM driver ever – in a row. In the end, only four points were missing to successfully defend the title.
Rast set as many as five new DTM records in the 2019 season: The Audi driver won his second DTM drivers’ title with a 72-point advantage – the biggest in DTM history. He is the first DTM driver to secure the title twice in his first three DTM years. He scored 35 points in qualifying alone, started from the front row of the grid 13 times and from pole position seven times – thus surpassing the record set by Nicola Larini, who had started from the front row twelve times in 1993.
For his fourth full season for Audi Sport Team Rosberg, the defending champion is approaching his title with this motto: “To be at least as successful as last year and win all three titles for Audi again.”
René Rast’s unusual career within the Volkswagen Group took him from the Polo Cup to Le Mans and now to the DTM. He won the Porsche Supercup, which is staged as part of Formula 1, three times. Since 2011 he has been active under the sign of the four rings. At the wheel of the GT3 sports car Audi R8 LMS, he is considered the benchmark and guarantor of success. His victories at the 24-hour races in Daytona, Spa and at the Nürburgring underline this, as does winning the ADAC GT Masters title.
As after his first title win, René Rast is relinquishing the starting number 1 of the reigning DTM Champion. His reasoning: “The 33 is my trademark and has brought me good luck so far. I still find it visually cool and a double number is easy for everyone to remember.” Rast is and remains a pragmatist through and through.
Together with his partner Diana and his son Liam, born in 2016, the German lives in Bregenz on the Austrian side of Lake Constance. His apartment has its own simulator on which he regularly trains for the DTM. In everyday life, René Rast drives an Audi RS 6 Avant. “With a child we need a little more space, that’s why this Audi is ideal,” says Rast. The DTM title defender has long since gotten used to the role of the family man. “Having a child is mega. I really enjoy the time at home. It gives me strength for my next assignments on the race track.”
René Rast (D)
Date of birth: October 26, 1986
Place of birth: Minden (D)
Place of residence: Bregenz (A)
Marital status: single (partner Diana), one son (Liam)
Height/weight: 1.79 m/64 kg
Motorsport since: 1996 (Audi driver since 2009)
2002 1st place German ICA Junior Kart Cup
2003 Formula BMW ADAC
2004 Formula BMW ADAC
2005 1st place ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup
2006 2nd place Seat León Supercopa
2007 10th place Porsche Carrera Cup, 8th place 24 Hours Nürburgring
2008 1st place Porsche Carrera Cup, 6th place Porsche Supercup
2009 2nd place Porsche Supercup, VLN (Audi R8 LMS)
2010 1st place Porsche Supercup, ADAC GT Masters
2011 1st place Porsche Supercup, 5th place Porsche Carrera Cup, ADAC GT Masters (Audi R8 LMS)
2012 1st place Porsche Supercup, 1st place Porsche Carrera Cup, 1st place 24 Hours Spa (Audi R8 LMS ultra), 1st place GT Class 24 Hours Daytona, ADAC GT Masters (Audi R8 LMS ultra)
2013 2nd place GT class 24 Hours Daytona (Audi R8 GRAND-AM), 6th place FIA GT Series, 6th place ADAC GT Masters, Blancpain Endurance Series (each Audi R8 LMS ultra)
2014 1st place ADAC GT Masters, 1st place 24 Hours Nürburgring, 1st place 24 Hours Spa, 6th place Blancpain GT Series (each Audi R8 LMS ultra)
2015 2nd place FIA GT World Cup Macau (Audi R8 LMS)
2016 1st place GTD class 24 Hours Daytona (Audi R8 LMS), 5th place LMP2 class FIA Endurance World Championship WEC, 3rd place 24 Hours Spa (Audi R8 LMS), 23rd place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM)
2017 1st place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM), 3 wins, 3rd place 24 Hours Daytona
2018 2nd place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM), 7 wins, 1st place Nations Cup Race of Champions
2019 1st place DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM), 7 wins
2020 DTM (Audi RS 5 DTM)