Rene Rast has a briefcase rammed filled with unfinished enterprise in Components E that he’s going to need to unpack in 2023 and 2024.
The payback for a flurry of wonderful performances with Audi ABT in 2020 and 2021 was unbalanced. His efforts deserved rather more than had been ultimately returned to him.
Two podium positions from 21 begins merely doesn’t illustrate what a menace Rast was to the sharp finish of the sphere. The fraught qualifying and racing of 2021 masked his means to get prime outcomes.
In a season the place the phrase ‘luck’ was tossed across the paddock freely, Rast, together with maybe Stoffel Vandoorne, had the largest case for feeling as if it had abandoned him.
Even off the observe, he was unfortunate.
Earlier than he’d began his first full marketing campaign Audi had given discover of its intention to depart the championship which means that Rast would have one and one solely crack on the world championship.
It began extraordinarily effectively for him with a 3rd place begin and a stalking of Nyck de Vries within the first section of the race. However then Alex Lynn triggered a collision with Sam Chook and the technique playing cards fell unkindly.
“In Riyadh, I’m satisfied he would have received it if the protection automobile hadn’t screwed us a lot,” remembers Rast’s group boss on the time, Allan McNish.
“Fourth in his first race in that automobile was distinctive and he was a real menace. Nevertheless it says rather a lot for Rene’s mentality that in actuality he was tremendous dissatisfied he didn’t win that.”
From a qualifying standpoint that was the spotlight. He’s benefitted from beginning within the decrease teams however his 12 factors for fourth meant he acquired shuffled up and that was self-defeating within the surreal world of the 2021 system.
Fairly other than that, Rast was nonetheless discovering his manner within the early a part of 2021, though at the least in a automobile he had partly developed together with Lucas di Grassi.
“Rene got here to us (in summer time of 2020 as a alternative for Daniel Abt) with mainly zero expertise and in fairly rushed circumstances actually,” remembers McNish.
“What we knew about him by way of LMP1 and DTM was that he was very adaptable.
“The primary few races although in Berlin had been robust and he struggled a bit however all through he by no means panicked in any respect, he was discovering his manner in and he did.”
“That season (2021) was actually onerous for him. Not within the sense of the racing a lot however simply because he by no means actually acquired the large consequence he ought to have gotten. He most likely ought to have received in Berlin and first day trip in Riyadh.”
Rast completed the season with a 10-5 defeat by di Grassi in qualifying, a lowly thirteenth within the standings and only a single podium look with a wonderful run to second in Puebla, Mexico.
However within the context of this lottery-esque season, these stats want context.
His thirteenth within the standings was simply 21 off champion De Vries and 9 of team-mate di Grassi, which means that had he received, as McNish felt he may have in Diriyah, he would have been a degree forward and in sixth place within the desk.
Three-time DTM champion Rast has been round lengthy sufficient to neglect about this stuff fairly shortly. The actual fact he has a plum new duel programme in sportscars and Components E with BMW and McLaren respectively exhibits that getting into the ultimate section of his profession on the age of 36 he and his administration group are assured he can spherical it off with a world title or two.
McLaren focused Rast early, as way back because the autumn of 2021. That’s as a result of its skilled and data-led engineering group knew what it wished.
“What McLaren shall be getting is a extremely clever driver,” says McNish.
“He’s a driver that may examine and analyse till he will get all of it proper. I don’t bear in mind a driver as devoted as Rene, he’s tremendous diligent and really targeted and I’m satisfied in the best group and with the best package deal, which he’ll kind very keenly, he’ll at the least win Components E races, on the very least.”