source: Audi AG
- Seventh victory in the manufacturers championship for the four rings
- Third place in the teams classification for ABT Sportsline
- René Rast as best Audi driver second in race and third in standings
Audi is the best DTM manufacturer for the seventh time: After 2004, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020, the brand with the four rings has now won the manufacturers classification for the first time with the GT3 sports car R8 LMS. In his last DTM race for Audi, René Rast finished in second place on the podium for the sixth time this year and secured third place in the drivers standings. Team ABT Sportsline is third in the team standings, equal on points with the second-placed Mercedes-AMG Winward squad.
“For the second time in a row, an Audi driver has kept the DTM title fight open until the finale,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Rolf Michl. “René has done extremely well for Audi in his exceptional career. We would have loved to see him win a fourth DTM championship trophy.” Winning the manufacturers classification means a lot to Audi Sport customer racing. “In the entire world of customer racing, the DTM is certainly a very tough racing series,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Kudos to our three teams and personally to Thomas Biermaier, Kimmo Liimatainen and Arkin Aka. Together with all the drivers, they secured the brand title for us. To be the best of six manufacturers and to finish among the top three of 34 drivers and 17 teams is worthy of all honor.”
After Audi Sport driver Kelvin van der Linde competed for the title up to the finale last year, three-time champion René Rast kept the championship battle open until the 16th and final race this year. The 35-year-old pro from Team ABT had come to the DTM Hockenheimring powered by Audi as one of ten drivers from five different brands with title chances. Cleverly, Rast avoided several serious accidents in Saturday’s race and collected valuable points in fifth place before securing pole position for the final race on Sunday morning. In the decisive final race, only three drivers still had a chance of winning the championship. Rast clinched second place after 34 laps ahead of newly crowned champion Sheldon van der Linde. This means that five of the six Audi drivers have clinched a combined total of twelve podium finishes in the past DTM season.
Audi owes the top result in the manufacturers standings to its three customer teams. After ABT Sportsline and Team Rosberg had already fielded the R8 LMS in the GT3 debut year of the 2021 DTM, Attempto Racing with privateer driver Marius Zug also participated for the first time this year. Finishing third in qualifying, he scored his first point for Arkin Aka’s team from Hanover on Sunday at Hockenheim. Fourth place in the race marked a strong end to the season for the 19-year-old native of Munich. He was just 0.291 seconds off the podium. Like the German, Dev Gore also competed as a privateer in the Audi this season. The 25-year-old race driver from Team Rosberg experienced his best race at Imola. At the third event, the American clinched a DTM podium result for the first time in his career in second place thanks to a good race strategy and a convincing personal performance after an early pit stop. His Rosberg teammate, Audi driver Nico Müller, recorded his best performances this year with a victory in the season opener at Portimão and a second place at Imola. The Swiss finished seventh in the final standings as the second-best driver of an Audi R8 LMS.
Two other Audi Sport drivers were on the grid for ABT Sportsline. Kelvin van der Linde achieved his best performances with Audi this year at the Nürburgring: After winning the 24-hour race with Audi for the second time in May, he also managed his best DTM season result there three months later with second place. He finished the season in ninth place. His teammate Ricardo Feller put several exclamation marks on his debut season in the DTM. The Swiss celebrated his first victory as early as the third weekend in Imola, and added another trophy at the Nürburgring with third place.
While the DTM season is over, Audi Sport customer racing has exciting weeks ahead internationally. Nine drivers titles and 22 other classifications have already been won by customers of the brand worldwide this year, and in many other racing series they are in promising positions with the brand’s four products – the Audi RS 3 LMS touring car and the three GT models R8 LMS GT2, GT3 and GT4.