Three-time DTM champion Rene Rast will return to the series this year driving for the Abt Sportsline Audi squad.
The 35-year-old German has been confirmed alongside Kelvin van der Linde in Abt’s crew for the 2022 season, marking his first appearance under the championship’s GT3 ruleset.
Rast won his third DTM title in 2020 but did not compete in the series last year as he focused on his ABB FIA Formula E World Championship drive with Audi and Abt.
Abt Sportsline is set to field a pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs in the next DTM campaign.
“We already started approaching Rene at an early stage,” said team principal Thomas Biermaier.
“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.”
Rast was named as an Audi Sport GT racing factory driver after the end of the company’s factory Class One program in 2020, however his only GT3 drive last year came at the Nürburgring 24.
He is now set for his first full season of GT3 racing since the 2016 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup.
“I am really happy to be back in DTM after a one-year break,” said Rast.
“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.
“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 made his DTM debut in 2016 and won his first championship the following year during his maiden full season.
He then finished second to Mercedes driver Gary Paffett in the 2018 standings before claiming back-to-back titles in the next two editions with the Rosberg Audi squad.