René Rast looked set to take another Sunday race victory in the DTM as he started the second race at Misano, Italy, from pole position, and shared the lead in the first half of the race. However, the Audi Team Rosberg driver suffered a puncture on lap 14, dramatically reducing his chances at claiming his thirteenth DTM win.
Rast was slow to pull away at the start, dropping to third before being invovled in an opening lap incident with Audi Team WRT rookie Jonathan Aberdein and BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann.
“The start is still a bit of a surprise sometimes, you have a good one sometimes a bad one.
“Today I had a bad one. Lots of wheelspin, lost a couple of positions and that was it.”
Rast found himself between Wittmann, and Aberdein who was making a late move to the inside of the T8 left handed hairpin.
“I haven’t seen anything from TV coverage. Marco and I went side-by-side through turn six, and down the straight and Marco broke late on the outside.
“I was in the middle and then Jonathan appeared on my left hand side, we turned in, I got a hit from the left, and hit Marco.
“I couldn’t really avoid it. I feel sorry for Marco, it wasn’t intentional or anything.”
After fighting past the two Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline cars of eventual race winner Nico Müller, and Robin Frijns, Rast gapped the chasing pack before a puncture on lap 14 dropped him down the order.
“I felt the puncture and I couldn’t do anything at that moment.
“On start finish I had 0.5 tyre pressure on the left rear, and when I reached the back straight it was 0.1.
“But I knew I had to go flat out at 260kmh with no pressure in the tyre.
“It was a critical moment, almost lost the car. But what do you do as a racing driver? You try and go flat out on just three tyres.”
After making it to the pitlane, Rast rejoined the race in tenth and amongst traffic. Despite this, the 2017 DTM champion was able to challenge BMW Team RMR’s Philipp Eng for second until his tyres became affected by following the BMW.
“I came out with cars around me which I had to defend, and then I had to pass Philipp and in that traffic situation you just follow cars and it’s not good for the tyres.
“I destroyed my tyres behind Philipp, so that’s something we have to analyse as the first stint was much stronger.”
Rast leaves Misano ten points clear at the top of the drivers standings on 93 points.