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DTM Norisring

Why Preining escaped penalty for "hard" pass on Rast in Norisring DTM

The DTM has explained why Thomas Preining was not penalised for his race-winning pass at the Norisring, despite Rene Rast claiming he broke the rules.

Manthey EMA driver Preining claimed his first victory of the 2023 season in Sunday’s second race at the Norisring after passing polesitter Rast for the lead with a “hard and opportunistic move” on lap 44 of 74.

Having already cleared Rast’s Schubert team-mate Sheldon van der Linde a few laps earlier, Preining made another pass at the tricky Turn 1 hairpin, sending his Porsche up the inside of Rast into the left-hander.

Preining had to ride the inside kerb due to a lack of space and the two drivers made minor contact as they exited the corner, but the Austrian driver was able to complete the move and win the race by over two seconds.

Rast made his displeasure clear immediately over the team radio, saying “he forced his way, he has to give back the position.” 

A piece of bodywork was also seen flapping from his BMW which, combined with 10kg of success ballast from his second-position finish in Race 1, meant that he wasn’t able to mount a counterattack on his Porsche rival.

 

 

Speaking after the race, Rast said he was surprised by Preining’s late pass and felt they were both lucky to continue the race without heavy damage.

“When I was in the corner, I was actually surprised that all of a sudden, almost at the exit of the corner, I had some contact very late,” he said.

“It was a very hard, opportunistic move. Luckily, nobody got injured or damaged so heavily that [they] had to retire. 

“It was very late. I was already committing to the apex of the corner. I was in the corner and got hit from the left-hand side.

“I was surprised, I couldn't really see him coming. Obviously, when you turn into the corner you focus on the apex and not on the rear-view mirror anymore.”

Rast also felt Preining’s move violated DTM’s rules regarding wheel-to-wheel racing, revealing such overtakes had been discussed in the drivers’ briefing.

“The rules basically say that you have to be half a car length next to the car in front before turning in and then the car in front has to give you the space,” he explained.

“But obviously I was already committing to the apex when he was fully behind me. So that's definitely different to what we agreed in the drivers briefing.”

Why Preining escaped penalty

While Preining was not yet next to the centre line of the BMW at the time of the turn-in, as required by Article 30.3.3 of the regulations, DTM race director Sven Stoppe decided not to penalise the Austrian driver.

This had to do with the fact that Rast turned in earlier than usual in order to close the door on Preining.

“What counts is not the turn-in point that the driver just chooses at that moment, but the one that the drivers usually use at that point,“ Stoppe told Autosport’s sister site Motorsport-Total.com.

Podium: Race winner Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA, second place René Rast, Schubert Motorsport, third place Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport

Podium: Race winner Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA, second place René Rast, Schubert Motorsport, third place Sheldon van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport

Photo by: Andreas Beil

Rast held to his own view, referring to an incident between Mercedes’ David Schumacher and Audi driver Luca Engstler in Saturday’s opening race to explain his point. Following that clash, Schumacher was penalised with a five-second penalty for their contact.

“[On Saturday] we saw a similar incident with David Schumacher and Engstler where Engstler retired. Schumacher got a penalty for that,” explained Rast, before adding: “So it could have been much worse but that's how it is.”

But video evidence showed that Schumacher didn’t even have his front wheel next to Engstler’s car at the usual turning point, while Preining’s Porsche was clearly next to the BMW of Rast at that point during his race-winning pass.

As such, Preining’s pass was deemed perfectly legitimate by the officials.

Explaining the move from his point of view, the 24-year-old Preining said: “I decided on the move a lap before because I saw they were vulnerable there. I saw how much later I could brake and with Sheldon I had always managed to stay quite close out of the last corner. 

“Of course, they stretch open a little gap before the braking zone because they are just fast on the straights. Therefore, we can brake later and this is what I did.

“I just tried to show myself very late, so he could not really defend it so much. He still tried, of course. I would have probably done the same in his position, but in the end, everything worked out.”

Preining also countered Rast’s allegation that he broke the rules, claiming the three-time DTM champion also moved under braking in order to defend his position.

“We also said [in the drivers’ briefing] it's not allowed to move under braking and he completely did,” said Preining, whose Porsche lost two front-right flaps in their clash.

“In my situation, once you commit to an overtake, you dive and you brake late and [then] there's no way out - you have to rely on the guy ahead of you. If he starts moving around there's very little you can do.”

But it has emerged that Preining could have no complaint against Rast’s defence, as DTM rules allow drivers to move under braking as long as they leave a car’s width.

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