Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast claimed his third pole position of the 2019 season for race two at Assen, but it was not an easy ride for the 2017 DTM champion.
With cool conditions at the 4.545km Dutch circuit drivers were taking two to three warmup laps to make sure their Hankook tyres were within the optimum operating window.
Rast was one of the first out of the pits, and subsequently found himself amongst cars that were still trying to find clean air, and warm their tyres.
On his first timed run, Rast was lighting up the timing screens and looked set to clock the fastest lap of the weekend before being impeded by BMW Team RBM rookie Sheldon van der Linde in the braking zone for the final corner.
“The first run was a bit compromised,” explained Rast, “but unlike yesterday the second one was quicker.”
Rast was able to improve his lap time in the final few minutes, overcoming the lap he had lost to traffic in the first half of qualifying.
“It’s up and down in the DTM,” reported the championship leader, “So you never know.
“We had to try because I was only P2 after the first run.
“Yeah, I’m very happy. Obviously a good starting position and another three points in the championship.”
With the new Class One specification DTM cars the starts have been one of the biggest challenge of a race weekend. Rast has been vocal in likening the start procedure to a ‘lottery’.
“The start is important as always,” Rast explained, “but tyre management will be important also. So let’s see.”
By taking todays pole, Rast has now tallied six front row starts this season, and seven points scoring qualifying results. With championship rivals BMW Team RMG’s Marco Wittmann unable to set a time in qualifying due to a mechanical issue, and Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline’s Nico Müller also not scoring, Rast will be looking to extend his points lead even further this afternoon.