Rene Rast says this weekend’s Nürburgring event has been his busiest yet, as the German takes part in four races with three different teams and in two significantly different Audis.
The reigning DTM champion is listed in both of the Audi Sport-backed WRT and Land Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars for the Nürburgring 24, while also competing in the three FIA WTCR rounds in an Audi RS 3 LMS TCR as a guest entrant.
It’s not only created a logistical nightmare, but also a challenge in switching his frame of mind between Audi’s GT3 and TCR machinery.
“It’s probably my busiest weekend ever so far,” Rast told Sportscar365. “Not only that I’m doing lots of races, practices and qualifying sessions, but it’s jumping between the teams.
“I have to deal with three different team managers at a time, so it’s not always easy!”
Rast ran into one of his first logistical headaches on Thursday evening following the first qualifying session for the Nürburgring 24, which occurred directly after the first WTCR race, where he finished sixth.
“The WTCR race finished and I had to go to the press conference,” he explained. “After that, I had to jump back in and qualify the GT3, so I went to get changed.
“But since I got changed at the TCR tent, and it was 11:30 p.m. [after Q1], all my stuff was [locked] in the truck!
“I had to go back to the hotel in my sweaty race suit, and in the morning, I put my suit back on and went to breakfast in it!
“That’s the trouble; sometimes you cannot plan [it all out]. You have to think a lot ahead to avoid these kind of problems.”
Rast said it’s also been a big adjustment in going back and forth between the two types of cars.
Nearly all of the sessions have been back-to-back, making things even more difficult at times.
“TCR is totally different to a GT3 car,” Rast said. “It’s moving a lot, you’re going over the curbs like mad. You’re having a lot of steering lock everywhere and are fighting the car like crazy.
“Then you jump into a GT3 and you turn into a high-speed corner and think it must be sliding or do something, but it’s not. It’s just stable. You need to build the confidence again in the GT3.
“For your whole brain and body, it’s just so different… There’s no chance I can just focus on one car, it’s every time I go back and forth.”
Rast, Van der Linde on ‘Jumper’ Duty
Adding to his complex weekend, Rast, as well as Kelvin van der Linde are on ‘jumper’ duty for the Nürburgring 24, with both drivers listed in the No. 1 Audi Sport Team Land and No. 8 WRT entries.
While it’s understood Rast will focus his driving in the WRT car and reigning race winner van der Linde in the Land entry, both will still have to complete a minimum 15 laps in the other car in order for the entries to be classified.
The South African, who is new to jumper duty, said it’s been “very difficult” going back and forth between the German and Belgian-run outfits, which have various differences in communications and setup.
“It’s very difficult, especially like last night when I jumped between the two cars in qualifying,” van der Linde told Sportscar365.
“The WRT car, everything feels like it’s completely switched around, the dials in the car, the radio position is different, the procedure for the pit stop is different.
“You really have to switch around quickly. From that aspect, it’s really tough.”
When asked where his alliance would stand if the cars would be fighting for the win, van der Linde admitted his heart remains with the Wolfgang Land-led operation.
“I’ve been thinking about that because obviously I have a soft spot for Land because of my brother [Sheldon, who is part of the driver lineup],” he said.
“Obviously, if you’re in a position to win with either car, it would be fantastic.
“I do not think we’ll be 1-2, that would be very unlikely, but it happened a few years ago with Maro Engel. It is possible, but I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there!”