Rene Rast continues to make DTM history as Mercedes wrap up title
René Rast continued his winning streak with a record fourth consecutive victory on Sunday at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Fresh from his Nurburgring double – where he scored the maximum available points with two poles and two wins – the German did it again with victory on Saturday and Sunday at DTM’s penultimate race weekend.
The effort equals Klaus Ludwig (1989), Nicola Larini (1993) and Alessandro Nannini (1993/1994 and 1996) who also achieved the same feat of four wins in a row. It's the first time in DTM's new era that it's happened.
"Yet another unbelievable weekend," Rast said after the race, having started down in eighth place. "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 fellow Britain Paul Di Resta in the drivers’ standings. Di Resta finished fourth in Styria.
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. The leading trio, split by just 30 points, will decide the battle for the drivers’ title.
"Four races ago, I was still 100 points down, now it is 30. I am mega happy, things can continue like this," Rast added. "Four consecutive wins is something I haven’t experienced in other race series either. In the hard-fought DTM, this really is something special.”
Paffett will be hoping to add another title to his 2005 effort: “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.
Glock looked set to lose his seventh-place finish as the stewards looked into an incident involving him and Edoardo Mortara, where he appeared to force his rival off track, but avoided a penalty. Mortara lost out to Mike Rockenfeller in the clash before Philipp Eng overtook on the final lap to snatch ninth, with Mortara completing the top ten.
Mercedes wildcard Sebastien Ogier had to make an additional pitstop to clean his windscreen and was 17th, a lap down on the leaders, but enjoyed his first DTM weekend: “That was a great experience for me. It is entirely different than rallying,” commented the rally legend. “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 mechanical issues in qualifying, Lucas Auer also had to retire to the pits in the race as well, as Augusto Farfus stopped on track.
The manufacturer title was also wrapped up at Spielberg on Saturday with Mercedes-AMG securing the points it required during qualifying. Prior to the finale, the brand from Stuttgart is beyond reach for the opposition from Munich and Ingolstadt.
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.