• DTM Champion right in his first DTM year
  • Unusual career in Volkswagen Group
  • Audi Sport Team Rosberg wins teams’ and drivers’ titles
DTM Finale Hockenheim 2017
Arno Zensen, René Rast

Audi driver René Rast (30) is the 2017 DTM Champion, so having written a chapter in motorsport history. The German secured the title in his first DTM season – a feat most recently achieved by the Italian Nicola Larini 24 years ago. On Saturday, Audi had already secured the manufacturers’ and teams’ classifications early in the DTM finale at Hockenheim.

René Rast is only the seventh campaigner in the history of the popular touring car series to have won the prestigious title in his rookie season, the driver from Minden having only contested three DTM races before the 2017 season. In July 2016, at Zandvoort, he stood in at Audi Sport Team Rosberg for Adrien Tambay, literally overnight. Without any preparation, Rast left such a good impression that in the 2016 finale at Hockenheim he was allowed to stand in for Mattias Ekström. In sixth place, Rast, in his second DTM race, scored his first points, so recommending himself for a regular cockpit in Audi’s DTM squad.

Twelve months later, Rast, on the finish straight, snatched the DTM title from Mattias Ekström, of all rivals. With sixth place on Saturday and 2nd place on Sunday, Rast managed to convert a 21-point deficit to the Swede into a razor-thin 3-point advantage.

“René drove an incredible season,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “There was good reason why we brought him into our DTM squad and we expected him to deliver good performances. But that he’d be battling for the title right in his first DTM year – and even winning it in the end – that’s something no-one really expected, not even René himself. One of the decisive factors was his basic speed. He was the best qualifier this year. I’m also happy for Audi Sport Team Rosberg. The team worked long and hard to finally win a DTM title. Now, with the drivers’ and the teams’ classifications, they scored even two in one go.”

René Rast’s 2017 rookie season was impressive. Right in the Hockenheim season opener he started from the front row for the first time. Two weeks later, the first podium in his young DTM career followed at the Lausitzring and the first victory on the third race weekend at Budapest. With that, Rast took the lead of the standings for the first time as well, which subsequently changed several times between the German and Mattias Ekström. At Moscow and at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Rast managed to clinch two more victories. Plus, his tally reflects three pole positions and a total of four fastest race laps.

“My goal was to become the best rookie,” says René Rast. “I wanted to learn, regularly score points and always finish a race well. Before the season, who’d have thought that I’d instantly be battling for the title? That’s why, in the finale, I actually couldn’t lose anymore. I approached the weekend without pressure and now am overjoyed that it all worked out. My thanks go to Audi who gave me the opportunity to enter the DTM at the age of 30 and this fantastic car, to Team Rosberg in which I felt comfortable from day one and also to my teammate, Jamie Green. He’s one of the fastest drivers in the DTM and once again suffered incredible misfortune.”

René Rast’s unusual career within the Volkswagen Group took him from the Polo Cup all the way to Le Mans and now also into the DTM. He won the Porsche Supercup held as part of the Formula 1 supporting program an amazing three times. Since 2011, he has been active under the banner of the four rings. At the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 sports car, he is regarded as the measure of all things and a driver to guarantee success. His victories in the 24-hour races at Daytona, Spa and at the Nürburgring underline this, as do a title win in the ADAC GT Masters and now the DTM title.

René Rast was born in Minden on October 26, 1986. The German lives in Bregenz on the Austrian side of Lake Constance together with his partner, Diana, and his son, Liam, who was born shortly before Christmas 2016. Privately – just like Mattias Ekström by the way – he opted for an Audi SQ7* as his “company car.”

Results of race 2:
1 Marco Wittmann (BMW) 36 Rd. in 56m 47.699s
2 René Rast (AUTO BILD MOTORSPORT Audi RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg) + 3.143s
3 Mike Rockenfeller (Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Phoenix) + 6.280s
4 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) + 15.844s
5 Jamie Green (Hoffmann Group Audi RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Rosberg) + 17.835s
6 Maxime Martin (BMW) + 19.372s

8 Mattias Ekström (Red Bull Audi RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) + 21.229s
11 Nico Müller (Playboy Audi RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) + 30.428s
15 Loïc Duval (Castrol EDGE Audi RS 5 DTM/Audi Sport Team Phoenix) + 42.972s

Final drivers’ standings:
1 René Rast (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) 179 points
2 Mattias Ekström (Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline) 176 points
3 Jamie Green (Audi Sport Team Rosberg) 173 points
4 Mike Rockenfeller (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) 167 points
5 Marco Wittmann (BMW) 160 points
6 Lucas Auer (Mercedes-Benz) 136 points

Final manufacturers’ standings:
1 Audi 798 points
2 Mercedes-Benz 568 points
3 BMW 560 points

Final teams’ standings:
1 Audi Sport Team Rosberg 352 points
2 Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline 257 points
3 Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Mercedes me 221 points