Audi stamped its authority all over the DTM championship this weekend.
On Saturday, Audi had already secured both the manufacturer and team championships, leaving four of its drivers to compete for the driver’s crown on Sunday.
Ultimately, the 2017 DTM title would go to thirty-year-old rookie René Rast, making him the first driver to win the championship in his first season since 1993.
“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.”
Rast triumphed over his well-decorated teammate, Mattias Ekström, with a sixth-place finish on Saturday and second on Sunday. Rast overhauled a 21-point deficit to the Swede, converting it into a 3-point advantage by weekend’s end, which was aided by Ekström failing to crack the top six on Sunday.
“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.”
Rast has spent the entirety of his career within the Volkswagen Group, ranging from the Polo Cup, Porsche Super Cup, Le Mans, and now DTM. He also has victories in the 24-hour races at Daytona, Spa, and the Nürburgring.