Published on November 9th, 2020 | by Joshua Chin0
René Rast Crowned Champion In Audi’s Final DTM Season
Audi departs DTM on a high with Réne Rast winning his third title in four years.
Réne Rast drove his Audi RS5 DTM to a dominant victory in the season finale at Hockenheim last weekend. Thus cementing his name onto the 2020 DTM driver’s championship.
The factory driver for Audi Sport racing for Team Rosberg is also officially now the most successful Audi DTM driver. Not only with 24 victories to his name, but also three titles in the last four years. Having only come second to Mercedes’ Gary Paffett in 2018, with only four points separating them at the end of the season.
Despite a rocky start to the season this year, Rast managed to find enough pace to score enough podium positions and points to keep him close to the two other championship front-runners early in the season, fellow Audi Sport racers Robin Frijns and Nico Müller. Things turned to the 2020 champion’s favour though in the second half of the season, dominating at Zolder with four victories in a row and coming into the DTM season finale in the lead.
Saying that, second place Nico Muller racing for Team ABT Sportline was only a handful of points behind Rast. Thus meaning that the championship could still swing to Muller’s favour in the final two rounds in Hockenheim.
In fact, things did go Muller’s way on the first round at the German track, as while Rast achieved pole position in qualifying and the fastest lap of the race, victory went to Muller instead. Giving him the provisional lead in the championship and thereby teeing off a nail-biting showdown between the two competing rivals in the second round, to decide the championship title holder in the final race of the 2020 DTM season.
Happily for Rast however, the final race of the season was all his for the taking. Scoring the trifecta of pole position in qualifying, fastest lap and the all-important race win which secured his 2020 DTM championship bid. Rast commented after the race saying that, “The car was simply fantastic. I didn’t have the slightest problem. Thanks to my crew, the mechanics, Team Rosberg and of course Audi Sport for the great car. I am more than happy!”
It was all sad news for Müller however as even without the DTM championship in hand, Team ABT Sportline managed to walk away with the team championship trophy in 2020. Speaking of trophies, Audi Sport has also easily won the manufacturer’s title this year, finishing the last race with six of its factory drivers in the top six positions and managing to accumulating over 1200 points throughout this shortened motorsport season.
Audi’s dominance in DTM over the last two years however comes to an end as it leaves the sport next year. Nevertheless, there is no better way to go then to go out with a bang by having a such a good final season.
PRESS RELEASE: René Rast is the 2020 DTM champion. The Audi driver won the season finale at Hockenheim with his Audi RS 5 DTM in commanding style and once again wrote DTM history: No driver has ever managed to win the title three times in four years.
“It’s too good to be true,” said Rast after crossing the finish line in the final race more than ten seconds ahead of his title rival Nico Müller. “We have achieved more than I would have ever dared to dream of. With 24 victories, I am now the most successful Audi DTM driver. We won our third title, and that after a year that was very difficult for us. In the first half of the season, we did not have the pace. Nevertheless, we achieved podiums and scored enough points to stay close to Robin (Frijns) and Nico (Müller). At Zolder, we lit the fire, won four races in a row and arrived at the final weekend in the lead. With a strong performance in qualifying and in the race, we won the title today. The car was simply fantastic. I didn’t have the slightest problem. Thanks to my crew, the mechanics, Team Rosberg and of course Audi Sport for the great car. I am more than happy!”
In 2017, René Rast clinched the championship title in his first DTM season at the Hockenheim finale. In 2018, the Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver became runner-up, only four points behind Gary Paffett in the Mercedes-Benz after a unique comeback with six consecutive victories. In 2019, Rast was the outstanding driver in the first year of the Class 1 era with the new four-cylinder turbo engines: As early as the third-last race of the season, Rast secured his second DTM title at the Nürburgring. Now in 2020, it was once again a comeback and the successful defense of the title.
One of the first to congratulate Rast in the Hockenheim parc-fermé was Markus Duesmann, CEO of AUDI AG. “Congratulations to René Rast on the title, but also to ABT for the teams’ title and the entire Audi Sport team. What everyone has achieved together in the last year of our factory DTM commitment is truly unique.”
Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass accepted the trophy for winning the manufacturers’ championship, which Audi won with 1253:500 points: “The fact that we managed to finish the last race with our six factory drivers in the top six positions says it all. The DTM was an incredible success for Audi, especially the last two years with the four-cylinder engines. In Class 1, we won everything that could be won, dominated in 2019 and also in 2020. René deserves the title. Nico gave him a great fight until the very end. I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team, to everyone here at the track, but also to everyone at home in Neckarsulm, in Neuburg and in Ingolstadt. Thanks a lot! It was an honor to work with this team and to celebrate such great successes together in the DTM. Now it’s time to head for new shores.”
Team coordinator Maike Frik accepted the championship trophy for the teams’ championship on behalf of Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, which also took second and third place in the drivers’ championship with Nico Müller and Robin Frijns. After his victory on Saturday, Müller was also leading at certain points in the last race. However, with the second set of tires, he could no longer keep up with René Rast’s pace. “We were simply not fast enough to challenge René today,” said the Swiss. “Compared to yesterday, we changed a few small things that we thought would help us, but that obviously went in the wrong direction. That was of course frustrating, but we didn’t lose the championship here, we already lost it at Zolder. I would like to congratulate René on a great season. He is a worthy champion. We had great fights and maybe they weren’t our last.”