Two-time DTM champion Rast was handed a short-term deal back in June following Abt’s dismissal from the team, and despite limited preparation, the 33-year old scored an impressive haul of 29 points from six starts including two superpole appearances and a best result of third place in race five.
The 33-year-old returned to the series four years on from his one and only previous Formula E appearance as a late substitute for Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa during the 2015-16 season, and impressed the Audi team in Berlin with his professionalism and technical feedback.
Rast had been racing for the Audi brand for several years as a factory driver in DTM and the Blancpain GT Series, winning two titles in the former with Audi Sport Team Rosberg.
Speaking to Inside Electric back in June, Rast said he was initially “shocked” to learn of his Formula E call up for Berlin and admitted his goal was a modest one – “to score a point here and there and to progress over the six races”.
After scoring a point on his Audi debut, Rast went on to out-qualify the more experienced di Grassi in each of the final three races, securing a surprise podium and a fourth-place finish in the final two.
Inside Electric understands that Rast was not the only driver considered for next season, but his eye-catching performances in Berlin ultimately made him the standout option and he earned a public endorsement from di Grassi who he said would make “a great addition to the team.”
Rast looks on course to wrap up a third DTM championship title before he embarks on his full-time move to Formula E. He currently leads the standings ahead of fellow Audi factory drivers Nico Muller and Robin Frijns with two races to go.
“The races in Berlin have definitely whetted my appetite for more, so I’m now looking forward to my first full season in Formula E,” says Rast.
“Starting in this world championship for Audi is the next exciting chapter in my career and I am really looking forward to it.”
Audis head of motorsport, Dieter Gass said: “For me, it was extremely important to have two drivers who push each other to peak performance. With Lucas and René, we have succeeded in doing this brilliantly.
“Lucas is the most successful driver in the field and extremely hungry to win his second title. René has already left an impressive mark in Berlin. We are enjoying his determination year after year in the DTM. I am already looking forward to experiencing it in Formula E.”