2018 has seen mixed results for the reigning DTM champion, with victory at Zandvoort on Sunday being pleasant for René Rast in the Team Rosberg Audi.
With a best result of fourth in the first race at the Hungaroring, this victory sees Rast climb onto the podium for the first time this season and it was down to a decision of an early pit stop.
Pitting on the first lap, Rast had the pace to be able to keep with the leaders as they took their mandatory stops.
When he passed early race leader Gary Paffet following the Briton’s pit stop, the German drove a controlled race to victory despite the age of his tyres, leading the championship front runner from Mercedes-Benz by 0.824 seconds at the finish.
“Before the race I didn’t really expect to win, because Gary [Paffett] was really outstanding in qualifying,” Said Rast in the post-race press conference.
“We were very aggressive in the strategy, stopped on lap one and the car was just going and going.
”It didn’t really drop so I got past Gary eventually and I was surprised he came out behind me.”
Despite a safety car bunching up the field after Bruno Spengler’s BMW got trapped in the gravel at turn one, Rast held his nerve at the restart when being hounded by the Mercedes duo of Paffett and Paul Di Resta.
“The safety car was not perfect for me. Even after the safety car start, we had a good car even though I was struggling a little bit with my tyres.”
Rast took Audi’s eleventh victory at Zandvoort in the DTM, more than any other manufacturer. To finally win a race in 2018 was a good reward for him and the team, following a disappointing start to his title defence.
“Very, very happy with my first victory this year. Good points for the championship, it’s good for the team.
“After so much bad luck the last couple of weeks, a lot of accidents and a lot of incidents I’m happy to be back on the podium.”