Rene Rast has been confirmed as Team Aguri’s substitute for Antonio Felix da Costa this weekend. Da Costa is unable to compete in the Berlin ePrix due to a clash with his DTM commitments, which left the Japanese team looking for a short term replacement.
They originally approached Northern Irish racer Adam Carroll, and even submitted his name for the fan boost vote which opened last weekend.
However after being unable to reach an agreement they approached 29 year old Rast, who is currently competing in the LMP2 programme in the World Endurance Championship for G-Drive, having previously raced for Audi in the LMP1 class in last year’s Le Mans 24-Hours.
It will be the first time he’s raced in single seaters since 2004, but despite that he believes that he’ll be able to adapt quickly to the challenges of Formula E. He said, “Driving a Formula E car on the streets of Berlin will be something very special and I’d like to thank the team for this great opportunity. I have been in the simulator for the last few days to get a good feel for the car.”
“While these cars have their own unique demands, I am confident that I can get up to speed quickly and use my experience in energy management to deliver a strong result for the team.”
Oh yeah 😎 can't wait to be back in a formula car this weekend in Berlin https://t.co/1n0jPKEoOZ
— René Rast (@ReneRastRacing) May 18, 2016
Despite the team initially looking for a driver with experience in Formula E, it was Rast’s relationship with Aguri’s Technical Director Leo Thomas that helped him secure the drive. Thomas commented, “René is a proven and talented racer, who I have a strong relationship with from our time together in endurance racing. He has been working very hard in our simulator to prepare for the race and has made very good progress, so we are confident that he will have a strong race.”
Rast’s appointment is still to be confirmed by the FIA and race stewards, but assuming they give the go ahead he will race in the number 55 car.
The driver change is also likely to lead to a penalty for Team Aguri for having exceeded their two permitted driver changes in a season, having already replaced Nathanael Berthon and Salvador Duran earlier in the season.