DTM star Rene Rast replaces sacked Abt at Audi Formula E team
Ingolstadt, Germany - Two times German Touring Car (DTM) champion Rene Rast will replace Daniel Abt at Audi's Formula E team for the remainder of the season, the manufacturer said on Friday.
Abt lost his seat last month for letting a gamer take his place, without others knowing, in an official Formula E esports race.
The all-electric series has scheduled six races in nine days in August at Berlin's former Tempelhof airport to finish a season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The three double-headers will be held without spectators.
Rast, 33, has some previous Formula E experience, racing in the 2016 Berlin ePrix for what was then the Aguri team and is now Techeetah.
"I've been following Formula E very closely for a long time and am now looking forward to this new challenge," said the German driver.
Audi are quitting the DTM at the end of this year, opening up the possibility of Rast continuing with them in Formula E next season.
Audi sacked Daniel Abt in late May, explaining that while the company stood by its culture of tolerating mistakes, what had happened was deliberate.
"That is what makes the big difference for us," Audi explained.
The decision to part company with a driver who won two races for the company in Formula E and has a sizeable social media following triggered dismay among some of the 27-year-old's rivals.
It also raised further questions about how seriously motorsport should take the virtual versions of its championships.
In a video message to fans on YouTube, Abt said he had made a mistake but denied cheating.
He said he had been more interested in social media interaction than results and had intended to "create a funny story for fans" who weren't necessarily that interested in racing that bore little relation to the real thing.
"Our goal was to entertain you, the fans at home," said the driver, who would have been out of contract at the end of a season stalled by Covid-19.