Speculations were going on for a long time, but now, the ABT Sportsline team from Kempten has officially confirmed its second driver for the 2022 DTM season. It is three-time DTM champion René Rast, who already won the drivers‘ title in the long-standing series in 2017, 2019 and 2020. The 35-year-old will be driving the second Audi-Cockpit of the team with ABT CEO and team principal Thomas Biermaier at the helm, becoming the new teammate to South-African Kelvin van der Linde, who already raced for ABT Sportsline in DTM last year and finished the drivers championship in third place.
René Rast is the most successful Audi DTM driver of all times. His track record: three championship titles, 24 race wins, 20 pole positions and 14 fastest race laps. The aim was to set the course for a joint DTM future with René Rast well in advance. “We already started approaching René at an early stage. We know his strengths as a rival in DTM. In Formula E, we got to know and appreciate him even better last season. We are extremely grateful to his management led by Dennis Rostek and to Audi Sport that it has worked out and that we can enter the battle for the 2022 title with a genuine dream team,” Thomas Biermaier says.
DTM organiser ITR is equally pleased to be able to start the new year with such a high-profile driver announcement. Frederic Elsner, director event & operations: “We are delighted that René Rast is back in the series after a one-year break from DTM. With him, the team is presenting an excellent, vastly experienced driver who became the champion right away in what was his first full DTM season in 2017. With his total of three titles, he will be the most successful driver in the field and will definitely be an asset to the series. René has always been a very talented and hard-working racing driver and a fighter and I expect that we can look forward to some action.”
In 2021, the driver, born in Minden, raced for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team in the FIA Formula E World Championship. However, he maintained his DTM connection all the time, closely following the series and being involved as an expert commentator on TV: “I am really happy to be back in DTM after a one-year break. I have never lost my appetite for DTM. Audi wanted me to fully focus on Formula E in the past season. I attended some DTM rounds on site and I really liked what I saw.”
The ABT Sportsline team is relying on a proven, well-practiced crew in DTM. “With ABT in DTM, I will almost have the same crew as in Formula E. My engineer remains the same and it is likewise for my chief mechanic and some mechanics. We are a super practiced team. Continuing to work together simply made sense,” Rast adds.
The 2022 DTM is getting its season underway with official test days at Hockenheim on 5 and 6 April 2022. Further test days have been scheduled at Portimão in Portugal on 26 and 27 April, where the first two races from the total number of 16 of the 2022 DTM season will be held immediately after that (30 April-1 May).