René Rast has hailed the ‘amazing’ pace he found in the opening DTM race at Zolder, which saw the reigning champion claim his third win of the year to eat into Nico Müller’s championship lead.
From pole position, Rast claimed a lights-to-flag victory in a damp and drying Zolder circuit, with the Team Rosberg driver winning ahead of title rivals Robin Frijns and Nico Müller.
Despite being concerned about starting on a damp line at the start, Rast got a strong start and was never headed during the race, eventually winning by a comfortable margin of almost 19 seconds from Frijns.
“I was a bit pessimistic before the start of the race,” said Rast. “Normally when it’s wet we have no grip, but today it was OK.
“I had a good getaway, and I could stay ahead of Nico so everything was OK.
“The pace we had today was just amazing; the car was just going and going and getting quicker and quicker. I have never had such a quick car this year.
“A big thanks to the team and hopefully we can continue like that.”
Rast hopes for his pace to continue in the final five races of the year, as he seeks to close down the 34-point deficit to series leader Müller.
The German has form in strong end-of-year performance – in 2018 he won six consecutive races, surging up from fifth in the standings prior to his run of form, on his way to narrowly missing out on the title.
“We hope for things to continue exactly like this in the next five races.
“We have shown that you shouldn’t write us off. In 2017, we made up a similar gap in the championship.”
Rast admitted that the lack of pressure from behind had the potential to allow his mind to wander.
“When you are driving up front, not seeing your opponents in the rear-view mirror, you start thinking about many things.
“Therefore, it is important to keep your head clear and remain focussed. Otherwise, a mistake is made quickly.
“When leading with a big gap, it is difficult to get to the limit all the time, but today, simply everything was going perfectly.”