Rene Rast says he cannot understand complaints that Audi is dominating the DTM now that performance weights have been lifted.
In the first race since the weights were scrapped, Audi swept the podium in both Red Bull Ring races and Mattias Ekstrom now leads three fellow Audi drivers in the standings.
BMW's Marco Wittmann is the highest non-Audi driver in the points heading into the Hockenheim finale, fifth in the standings and 38 points behind Ekstrom, and has claimed that Audi’s dominance has killed the excitement of this year's title battle.
But Rast says that Wittmann placing third and fourth in the two qualifying sessions at the Red Bull Ring proves otherwise.
“It’s not 100 percent right what he is saying, he is competitive in qualifying,” Rast told Motorsport.com.
“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."
Asked if he expected Audi to have an edge over BMW and Mercedes without the 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, they are 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 Timo Glock and Wittmann both having been critical of the Ingolstadt manufacturer.
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 said: “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.”