Rast confused by BMW man Wittmann's claims Audi now dominates DTM
|By Tom Errington||Wednesday, October 11th 2017, 12:05 GMT|
Rene Rast says he cannot understand BMW driver Marco Wittmann's complaints that Audi is dominating the DTM now that performance weights have been lifted.
In the first round since the ballast system was scrapped, Audi swept the podium in both Red Bull Ring races last month and Mattias Ekstrom now leads three fellow Audi drivers in the standings.
Wittmann is the highest non-Audi driver in the points heading into this weekend's Hockenheim finale, fifth in the standings and 38 points behind Ekstrom, and has claimed that Audi's dominance had killed the excitement of the DTM.
But Rast said Wittmann's third and fourth in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring proves Audi has not run away with things.
"It's not 100% right what he is saying, he is competitive in qualifying," Rast told Autosport.
"On the other hand he is right that we have an advantage in race conditions, but everyone could have built the same car.
"We have the same rules, we have the same preparation in the wintertime and Audi did the best job.
"I don't know why everyone is complaining, or why BMW is complaining. They could have built the same car."
When asked if he had expected Audi to have an edge over BMW and Mercedes without weights, Rast said: "All year long we thought that our car is very strong in the race conditions.
"But if you look at the qualifying results at the Red Bull Ring, BMW was there with Wittmann who was P3. He was half a tenth behind the polesitter [in first qualifying].
"Also the Mercedes, if it is colder, is competitive. In qualifying, you could see the real performance of the manufacturers and it is close between the three.
"Obviously in race conditions, you need a different set-up and aerodynamics and it looks like Audi did the better job in the winter and that's why we still have the advantage over the race distance."
Audi tactics no different to rivals
Audi has been accused of manipulating races this season, with multiple drivers criticising the manufacturer's tactics.
Timo Glock had claimed that Audi was "sacrificing drivers" to manipulate the title race after he collided with Nico Muller at the Nurburgring.
When asked if the criticism was fair, Rast told Autosport: "It's hard to say. Every manufacturer is trying to support the best drivers.
"Also BMW and Mercedes are doing it and I can't judge what happened in [the cases] they are talking about.
"Obviously this is quite common in DTM, it has always been the case in the past years."