Audi names Rast as Abt's Formula E replacement
Two-time DTM champion Rene Rast will replace Daniel Abt at Audi for the six remaining races of the 2019-20 Formula E season at the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin.
The series revealed a six-race programme, which will comprise of three double-header events on three different track layouts at the airfield and is set to take place over nine days.
Abt, who won the 2018 Mexico and Berlin E-Prix, was effectively sacked by Audi after he had a sim racer take his place in the FE Race at Home Challenge Esports competition.
The manufacturer has now announced that 33-year-old Rast will contest the August 5-6, 8-9, 12-13 races - which will be held behind closed doors.
Rast said: “I’ve been following Formula E very closely for a long time and am now looking forward to this new challenge.
“The demands on the drivers in Formula E are high: in addition to pure speed, it’s also a question of efficiency, battery management and the perfect strategy - and all of this on tight city circuits, where things are usually quite turbulent.
“But, with the testing at the beginning of July and my experience in the simulator, I will try to be as well prepared as possible when I arrive in Berlin.
“And with six races in nine days, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn quickly.”
Rast expressed his interest in the vacant seat earlier this month, but could not confirm plans to race until the revised FE calendar was released to ensure there were no clashes with DTM.
He is set to test the current Audi e-tron FE06 car with teammate Lucas di Grassi at the Lausitzring in early July.
Rast entered the 2016 Berlin E-Prix, held on the city streets, for Team Aguri and qualified 13th before retiring from the race after a collision with Bruno Senna - his first single-seater race since competing in German Formula BMW in 2004.
Dieter Gass, head of Audi Motorsport, added: “As a two-time DTM champion and long-time Audi driver, Rene was naturally on the shortlist from the very beginning.
“In the past, he has often proved how fast he is in a new series without having to get used to it.
“It’s nice that there are no overlaps between DTM and Formula E so that Rene can compete in both series for us.
“With six final races in Berlin, our team still has everything to play for in the championship.”
Although Rast has not yet been confirmed beyond the Berlin races, he will available for the full-time race seat in 2021 following the announcement that Audi will quit the DTM.
Mahindra is yet to announce who will partner Jerome d’Ambrosio for the six races after Pascal Wehrlein revealed in a social media post he had left the team with immediate effect.
The ex-Manor and Sauber Formula 1 driver is expected to sign for Porsche and replace Neel Jani alongside Andre Lotterer.
Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE06
Photo by: Dom Romney / Motorsport Images
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