Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver René Rast took his first DTM pole position of 2019 for race one at Misano, Italy, after narrowly beating Audi Sport Team WRT rookie Jonathan Aberdein by less than a tenth of a second.
Rast’s time of 1 minute 25.294 seconds was enough to take his first pole position in eight races, despite the 2017 DTM champion sitting out the second half of the session.
“My lap was pretty clean,” explained Rast, “and I checked the data and I could see that maybe I could go slightly quicker.
“But, I think saving the tyres nowadays is a better option.
“So we obviously stayed in the pits and hoped nobody could improve and beat my time.”
Tyre degradation has been an influential factor in the first four races of the season, as the new Class One-spec cars are more demanding on the Hankook rubber.
At a track like Misano, the tyres experience high loads through the fast T11, 12, 13, sequence, as well as being placed under stress through the more technical sections of the 4.226km circuit.
As such, Rast and his Audi team chose not to run again leaving them in a vulnerable position should times come tumbling.
Fortunately for Rast, only a handful of drivers improved their position after the second runs.
“Loïc [Duval] improved, and some others as well, luckily no one got close to my time.”
Rast was quick to emphasise his happiness in securing his first pole since race two at the Nürburgring last year, and on closing the gap to championship leader BMW Team RMR’s Philipp Eng.
“I’m obviously very happy, it’s been a long time since I have been on pole, so that feels good.
“It’s three points for the championship, so I’m closer to Philipp now.”