Victory jubilation instead of fatherhood: Rene Rast had a perfect day at the DTM in Spielberg on Sunday – Why Schubert dispensed with team orders
On Saturday afternoon, it was still not clear whether Rene Rast would be driving at all on Sunday at the DTM on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. For at home was his heavily pregnant wife Diana, and Rast was on call to rush to her should the birth be imminent. But his second child took its time, and so less than 24 hours later Rast could look back on a perfect race day.
Pole position in the morning, commanding start-finish victory in the afternoon – Rast was unstoppable on this day in Styria and was able to celebrate his first victory as a BMW driver. The last time Rast had triumphed in the DTM was in Imola in 2022, back then as an Audi driver.
“It was a perfect race for us, for the team, they did a great job, also with the strategy. They deserved that,” said Rast, who celebrated on the podium with his team-mate Sheldon van der Linde, who made the one-two for Schubert-BMW perfect.
“It could start at any moment “
Immediately after the race, however, Rast’s thoughts were back on his heavily pregnant wife. “It can start at any moment. Tomorrow is the calculated due date,” he reported. “My wife has already said a few times: now is the time. Again tonight. But it was a false alarm again, we’ve had that three, four times.”
The urge to get to his family as quickly as possible also motivates him in the race, Rast admittedly says with a twinkle in his eye. “The faster I drive in the race, the faster I’ll be home. That was the plan,” he jokes. On the objection that the departure after the victory took longer because of the obligatory media appointments, Rast admits. “True, I should have finished fourth then.”
But after Rast had routinely answered all the press questions, he got straight into the car and headed home. “The race is going on. I hope I make it in time,” said Rast. Substitute Dries Vanthoor, on the other hand, who would have been available in the event of Rast retiring early, had to leave Austria without having achieved anything.
That’s why BMW was so strong on Sunday
From the outside, the race went off without a hitch for Rast. After winning the start from pole position – incidentally his 26th in the DTM and thus equal to record holder Bernd Schneider – he quickly pulled away from his team-mate van der Linde and never relinquished the lead after pit stops.
With positions one, two and four, BMW lived up to its position as favourites on Sunday and was clearly the strongest car on the Red Bull Ring. But why were the M4 GT3s only so superior on Sunday and not already on Saturday?
“Yesterday it rained, so grip is more crucial for the lap time. In the dry, grip is of course also decisive, but more so on the straights, and that’s where I think the BMW was superior this weekend,” said Rast. “We’ve seen that in the last few races, that we’re stronger than everyone else on the straights, but lose out in the corners. “
That’s why Schubert didn’t use team orders
“There are proportionally more straights than corners here, so we had a stronger car. At the Sachsenring it was the other way round, there are only corners. We had big problems there,” the three-time DTM champion continued. “Depending on the track, it’s sometimes good, sometimes bad for one manufacturer. This time it was our turn. “
Despite his victory, Rast, unlike his team-mate van der Linde, no longer has any chances of winning the title ahead of the season finale at Hockenheim from 20 to 22 October. However, Schubert refrained from a team order that would have allowed the defending champion to reduce the gap to championship contenders Mirko Bortolotti and Thomas Preining by a further five points.
Rast admitted that there had been corresponding considerations. But since Preining was behind the two Schubert drivers in third place, they dismissed it. “I think he [van der Linde] was more than 60 points behind Mirko. That’s when we said: if those two are out of the race, then maybe it makes sense to make up those points somewhere. But after Thomas was in front, it doesn’t make sense to do something illegal, because team order is forbidden anyway,” said Rast.