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This rookie just won the DTM driver's title
René Rast is the 2017 DTM champ, the first rookie to do so for 24 years
Only seven drivers in the history of the DTM – that’s Germany’s rather amazing touring car series – have won the driver’s title in their first season. Audi driver René Rast is Mr Seven.
Yup, the 30-year-old German won the title last weekend in his mad RS5, thanks to a “razor-thin” three-point advantage over his nearest rival, Mattias Ekstrom. The last time a rookie won the DTM in their first year was 24 years ago. That was Nicola Larini, who emerged victorious in an Alfa Romeo 155 way back in 1993.
“There was good reason why we brought him into our DTM squad,” explained Audi Motorsport boss Dieter Gass. Indeed, Rast had only ever driven in DTM three times prior to 2017, including a July 2016 drive (having been told only the night before), and later for the 2016 finale at Hockenheim standing in for… Mattias Ekstrom. The man he beat to the title this year.
His victory for Audi Sport Team Rosberg (yep, that team Rosberg) adds to what Audi itself describes as an “unusual” career within the confines of the VW Group’s motorsport empire. He once raced in the Polo Cup, won the Porsche Supercup three times, raced at Le Mans, and has taken victories in an Audi R8 LMS GT3 car at Daytona, Spa and the Nürburgring. Those last three are all monster 24-hour races.
“My goal was to become the best rookie,” Rast said. “Before the season, who’d have thought that I’d instantly be battling for the title? That’s why, in the finale, I actually couldn’t lose anymore. I approached the weekend without pressure and now am overjoyed that it all worked out.”