Two-time DTM champion, Rene Rast, will replace Daniel Abt at Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler for the conclusion of Formula E’s sixth season in Berlin this August.
After five and a half seasons in the electric series, Daniel Abt was suspended and subsequently let go from the Audi team after an ill-advised prank during the Formula E and UNICEF’s fundraising simulator series, the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge.
Rast’s selection as replacement is not overly surprising, the German has been part of Audi’s DTM squad for the past four year and has dominated in the series. In only three full seasons he has been the champion two years and runner-up, by four points, the other. Not only that but Rast has also recorded wins in series such as the World Endurance Championship, Porsche Supercup, and the Blancpain Sprint Series.
To prepare for the end of season 6, Rast will join teammate Lucas di Grassi for testing at the Lausitzring at the start of July to get his first experience in the Audi eTron FE06. Not only will the 33-year old have to deal with Formula E’s hectic six-race over the course of nine-days schedule (August 5/6, 8/9 and 12/13) but it will be bookmarked by the start of him DTM title defence with races on August 1st and 2nd, and then the second round on the 15th and 16th.
While this will be Rast’s first first time competing in a Gen2 car it won’t be his first Formula E experience, nor even his first Formula E experience in Berlin. Back in season 2 Rast stood in for Antonio Felix da Costa at Team Aguri when the Portuguese had a prior commitment to DTM. That race however was the only one held on the Berlin Street Circuit in Karl-Marx-Allee, which means August will be the German driver’s first time dealing with Tempelhof’s concrete surface.
“I’ve been following Formula E very closely for a long time and am now looking forward to this new challenge,” Rast said.
“The demands on the drivers in Formula E are high: in addition to pure speed, it’s also a question of efficiency, battery management and the perfect strategy – and all of this on tight city circuits, where things are usually quite turbulent.
“But, with the testing at the beginning of July and my experience in the simulator, I’ll try to be as well prepared as possible when I arrive in Berlin, and with six races in nine days, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn quickly.”
Head of Audi Motorsport, Dieter Gass, added that “As a two-time DTM Champion and long-time Audi driver, Rene was naturally on the shortlist from the very beginning. In the past, he has often proved how fast he is in a new series without having to get used to it.
“It’s nice that there are no overlaps between DTM and Formula E so that Rene can compete in both series for us. With six final races in Berlin, our team still has everything to play for in the championship.”