Rast leaves Audi, switch to McLaren?
When Mattias Ekström missed the season finale in Hockenheim a few months later due to a scheduling conflict with the World Rallycross Championship, René Rast was given his next chance in the DTM. He promptly collected his first points and made such a strong impression on his first “real” DTM outing that he was given a permanent place in the DTM with Audi for the 2017 season.
What followed was a small piece of motorsport history: René Rast managed the feat of winning the championship title in his very first DTM season. Only six other drivers had managed that before him. The years that followed proved that the first title was no coincidence: Within four years, Rast won the championship title three times with Audi Sport Team Rosberg, and in 2018 he missed another title as runner-up after an impressive comeback by just four points.
“What René Rast has achieved for Audi Sport, especially in the DTM, is unique,” says Audi’s CTO Oliver Hoffmann. “It is all the more painful that we have to let René go as a racing driver after so many successful years together. Our motorsport program is currently being completely reorganized as part of the electrification of the company. And René is at a point in his career where he wants to set a new course.”
“This decision was anything but easy for me,” says Rast. “Audi has been my life in recent years. We worked fantastically together and celebrated many great successes. I will never forget those moments.”
Of course, his championship title stands out. Rast: “The Class 1 era in the DTM was the absolute highlight for me. The Audi RS 5 DTM with its four-cylinder turbo engine was a fantastic racing car. Unfortunately, that era ended far too quickly. I was also unlucky with the Le Mans prototypes and in Formula E, having only just joined the team when the programs ended. That was really a pity. I enjoy the DTM with GT3 racing cars a lot more than I could ever have imagined. But I still have a few goals in motorsport that I want to achieve. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I have to say goodbye to the Audi fans after the end of the 2022 season.”