S A seasoned DTM driver like René Rast really doesn’t need tall direction. Actually. The 32-year-old from Minden is only driving his third full DTM season, but he has already bagged a title (2017), a runner-up championship (2018) and 14 wins (out of 51 starts). Rast is now well on the way to his second title - and his colleagues are paving the way for him. The old Le Mans champion Loïc Duval was only allowed to enjoy his guided tour for two minutes on Sunday, then he literally dug himself into a straight as he politely let Rast go ahead, as required by the company's reasoning.
Sad for the audience, but understandable from Audi's point of view. Apparently everything is being done there to make the 2018 trauma forgotten. At that time, Rast had missed the driver's title; and - worse! - Audi only takes third place in the brand classification behind Mercedes and BMW.
Müller reliable and cautious
Rast's fiercest rival comes from his own camp: Nico Müller, 27, has been working since 2014 at Audi and is therefore active in the DTM three years longer than Rast, who only got his first chance in the DTM at the age of 29 - and took advantage of it in cold blood. Müller finished the last season in tenth place. This year he matured to become a candidate for the title. He was the only one of the 18 players to finish in the points in all twelve races of the season. He came on the podium eight times, but only once as first.
A second victory could have been achieved at the Sunday race in England. Because Rast had bad luck with the tires after his best time in training. 'After the qualification we had a flat tire, so we had to throw together a new sentence,' he reported. Müller, the reliable, followed Rast like a shadow. “It's extremely difficult to overtake at Brands Hatch. My only chance was the pit stop. ”
The tire change didn't go according to plan. Because the car was let out too early, Müller lost three or four seconds. With a fabulous lap out of the pit lane, he crawled up to Rast again, but refrained from grim attacks. It's amazing that Müller only used the overtaking aids very sparingly. In the end, he would have eight DRS activations and ten uses of the push-to-pass system (P2P), which releases 30 more horsepower. His conclusion: “I never had the feeling that I had a real chance to overtake. If you attack, that stresses the tires enormously. ”
In the Saturday race, Rast took second place behind BMW man Marco Wittmann. In the last few laps he sniffed the diffuser of the BMW and up closeadmitted afterwards: “I didn't use P2P at all. In the heat of the moment I probably forgot. ”Wittmann, who managed to get to the finish with the last of his strength, was only surprised at the reluctance of the Audi drivers:“ Incomprehensible. You don't voluntarily do without a performance instrument. 'He added smugly:' But maybe the Audi are so fast by design that they don't even need it. '
BMW Suddenly a second is missing
During qualifying on Sunday (where activating DRS and P2P is forbidden and technically impossible) BMW suffered a severe setback: Eight Audi were in the first eight places on the grid - that was it so far only once in the history of the DTM, namely in Budapest 2016. The sports directors Dieter Gass and Jens Marquardt agreed: 'Inexplicable' is this. Especially since a BMW with Wittmann had taken pole on Saturday. 'Compared to Sunday we are a little faster and the opponents a little slower,' observed Audi man Gass.
'We were missing a second,' said driver Wittmann in amazement. 'It doesn't exist!' It does, and so the Franconian was only twelve. Even a desperate tactic with two tire changes hardly paid off: In the end, he finished tenth. Wittmann is now 59 points behind. To give up? No way. Because it's Rast, who always likes to tell the story of how he was 100 points behind last year and almost won the title in the end.
The decision in the brand classification, however, is as good as made. Audi is 284 points ahead of BMW. Despite Wittmann's victory, Munich only got 20 points in England because they were penalized for too many engine changes: no points for the three best-placed M4 on Saturday. Head of Audi Sport Gass was delighted: “In contrast to our competitors, we haven't had a single engine failure.”