Rast’s DTM return will have drivers looking over their shoulder

With Rene Rast making his return to DTM in 2022, drivers will be wary having one of the series’ most successful drivers back on track.

After winning his third DTM title at the end of 2020, making him the joint-second most successful driver in the series alongside Klaus Ludwig, Rast took a break from DTM to race in Formula E.

But with Audi making its departure in Formula E at the end of last year, Rast has made the decision to make a DTM comeback with the German manufacturer, and fight for a fourth title.

This return will no doubt have turned the heads of the front-running drivers who currently occupy the DTM grid, with 2021 champion Maximilian Gotz saying the German’s return will make the competition tougher.

“Certainly, competition will be even harder, some drivers have already announced that they definitely want to be in DTM and that will be making it even stronger, more exciting and harder next year,” Gotz said in an interview with DTM.com.

“But that is a good thing because I can take on further great drivers.

“When somebody like Rene Rast is coming in, one of the best DTM drivers ever, when we will be up against each other next year, that will be a very exciting affair.”

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In 2020, Rast was crowned champion with 23 points separating himself and fellow Team Rosberg driver Nico Mueller.

The 35-year-old took 13 podiums which included seven victories in the 18-race campaign.

Those stats alone will be enough to make the claim that Rast will enter the grid this year as one of the favourites to win the championship.

But one of the key differences in 2022 compared to Rast’s title-winning 2020 campaign is DTM’s ‘GT Plus’ cars as opposed to the ‘Class 1’ regulations which the German was used to racing.

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With the rest of the front runners on the DTM grid having that extra year of experience racing in a GT3-spec DTM car, the Minden-born racer may have to work a little bit harder if he is to be crowned champion in 2022.

Rast does, however, have experience racing under the umbrella of GT regulations, most recently making one-off appearances in both the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge in 2019.

This experience will be crucial for the German if he is to get off to a quick start in 2022 and place his stamp firmly on title contention for the season ahead.

When the series gets back underway at Portimao in April, expect to see Rast racing amongst those at the front as he looks to make a successful DTM comeback.