Newly-crowned 2017 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters champion René Rast says he is ‘overjoyed’ with his title win after his first DTM campaign.
The Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver exceeded his own expectations in a rookie campaign which included a total of three race wins, three pole positions and five podiums.
“My goal was to become the best rookie,” said 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.”
The 30-year-old had the advantage over the other championship contenders ahead of the season finale and capitalised on his superior grid position to claim the title.
During the pre-race interviews on the grid, Rast appeared calm and composed, claiming there was ‘no pressure’ on him to win the title as his rookie season had already surpassed expectations.
After the race, Rast said: “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.”
Dieter Gass, the Head of Audi Motorsport, praised Rast’s impressive campaign, in which he became the first rookie DTM champion since Nicola Larini in 1993.
“René drove an incredible season,” said 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.”