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Rast Looking to Discuss Driving Standards With Race Director

Rene Rast offers suggestion on how to improve DTM’s incident-heavy racing…

Photo: Hoch Zwei

Rene Rast says he is hoping to discuss measures to improve DTM’s driving standards with race director Scot Elkins ahead of the Spa race weekend following two incident-packed races at the Nürburgring two weeks ago.

The three-time series champion heavily criticized the driving from some of his fellow DTM drivers after his early Sunday exit following contact with David Schumacher, saying it was “not fun to race anymore.”

As DTM reconvenes at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for rounds eleven and twelve of the 2022 season, Rast maintains that he hasn’t changed his position two weeks after his post-race comments.

“Nothing has changed in my opinion,” said Rast.

“I think we saw many race weekends now, starting from Norisring and then obviously also Nürburgring where we had lots of contact, lots of collisions and lots of cars with a DNF.

“Lots of damage obviously, as well. I think that is not what teams, drivers and manufacturers want to see and also not the fans.

“That’s why I am still of the same opinion that we need behave a bit better.”

Rast, along with a number of other unnamed drivers, says that he is hoping to talk to race director Elkins ahead of the Spa weekend, discussing the number of incidents in recent races.

“We have a Whatsapp group chat with the drivers where we discuss certain things,” he noted.

“I was in contact with some drivers already who are in that group and they were saying that they were going to push and talk to Scot [Elkins] for better racing and better understanding of the rules.

“So I expect that at Spa, we might sit together in the drivers briefing and talk about it.”

Current championship leader Sheldon van der Linde was one of several other drivers to back up Rast’s comments.

“I think this year in general, the race director has been a bit lenient with all the drivers in meetings,” Van der Linde said.

“There’s obviously a lot of cars on the grid and I think that is obviously a recipe for disaster at some point in the season.

“If you try and give 30 pro drivers the chance to race as hard as they can, of course they are going to try and exploit the grey areas and push each other off where they can. It’s not nice to see.”

Van der Linde also called for improvements, especially as the season heads into a crucial phase for the championship contenders.

“I think it needs to improve for the the next few races, especially when it comes down to the championship,” he said.

“For myself I would like for all of us to race fairly because there is a lot at stake right now and you can lose a lot of points if something goes wrong.”

Rast hinted that the current GT3 cars that compete in the series are sturdier than the previous generations of cars, which allows drivers to take more liberties with contact during races.

“The DTM cars [now] basically have a harder structure.

“So you can have contact, you can lean on each other without losing your whole race, which wasn’t possible back in the days.

“So once you had contact in the old DTM, your car was broken and your race was gone.

“So that’s probably why there was less contact back in the days as well.”

While Rast recognized that the increased number of cars in the series makes race control’s job more difficult than in previous years, he also offered a concrete suggestion for a way to improve the quality of racing in the series by drawing on another example from previous years.

“Back then we were allowed and asked to race side-by-side,” Rast explained.

“So the race director said ‘I don’t want to see anybody pushing the guy on the outside off track’.

“We don’t have these rules anymore, so it is now basically free racing.

“When there is somebody on the outside, you just open up the steering wheel and push him off the track.

“Or you can divebomb him, brake a tiny bit later, run into his door and push him off track.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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