The new DTM champion made the perfect start to Sunday’s race at the Nürburgring, the 16th of this season’s 18 races. Starting from second on the grid, the Audi racer overtook fellow Audi driver and pole-sitter Jamie Green to take an early lead. However, after his mandatory pit stop on lap 13, the Brit regained the lead from Rast, who had come in for a fresh set of Hankook race tyres on lap twelve. Robin Frijns (Audi) also produced a skilful overtaking manoeuvre to pass Rast, who came home third behind his two Audi colleagues after 41 laps of racing.
That was enough for Rast to add a second DTM title to the one he won in 2017. Nico Müller (Audi), who started the day in second place in the championship, had to settle for sixth place in the Sunday race at the Nürburgring. Rast’s lead is now unassailable, even if Müller were to score maximum points in the final two races at the Hockenheimring. Philipp Eng was the best-placed BMW driver in eighth place, behind seven Audi racers. Daniel Juncadella in twelfth was once again the best of the Aston Martin drivers.
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe: “Congratulations to the new DTM champion, René Rast. René has been the season’s outstanding driver so far, and has managed the Hankook race tyres perfectly at every circuit and in a wide range of conditions. We now move on to the finale in Hockenheim, at which guest starters from the Super GT Series will go head to head with the DTM drivers and the new champion. That will be the worthy conclusion to a great and exciting DTM season.”
Rast was not the only one to be crowned DTM champion with races to spare on Sunday. Audi Sport Team Phoenix also wrapped up the Best Pit Stop Award, the unofficial pit crew championship run by exclusive DTM tyre partner Hankook, with the finale in Hockenheim still to come. Seventh place on Sunday was enough for the Audi team to claim the title for the third time in a row and the fourth time in total. Since 2011, Hankook has presented the fastest pit crew of the season with a valuable trophy in recognition of the important work carried out by the mechanics in the pit lane.
BMW Team RMR produced the fastest pit stop of the race weekend at the Nürburgring, in a time of 36.379 seconds. They were rewarded for their efforts with 25 points towards the Best Pit Stop Award.
Jamie Green (Audi): “After an early pit stop, I drove 28 laps on my second set of Hankook race tyres. That is why it was tough at the end to keep Robin, who was on fresh tyres, at bay. Despite the long second stint, the Hankook tyres worked well right through to the finish, which ensured that our aggressive strategy was rewarded with the win.”
Robin Frijns (Audi): “At the start of the race, it was hard to find any momentum with the heavy car behind Loic. After my pit stop, I had a clear track ahead of me – I was able to get the Hankook race tyres to the optimal temperature and was the fastest car in the field on them. Unfortunately, I was not able to take oust Jamie from first place.”
René Rast (Audi): “I am delighted with my second DTM title. It was a tough race, as my pace was not as good as on Saturday. However, I also drove more cautiously. I tried to avoid the kerbs and look after the Hankook race tyres. Jamie and Robin were faster than me today, but third place was ultimately good enough for the title anyway. We will celebrate tonight.”
Philipp Eng (BMW): “Despite the track temperatures, which were quite high, there was very little tyre wear. I was able to push to the finish on the second set of Hankook race tyres. However, the Audi guys were simply faster than us.”
Ferdinand von Habsburg (Aston Martin): “The Hankook race tyre wore far less in the race than we expected. Unfortunately, that did not help us a great deal, as our performance is simply not as good as that of BMW and Audi.”
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