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Rast to miss WEC Fuji round after Audi DTM call-up

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G-Drive Racing’s Rene Rast will miss the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship round at Fuji Speedway in Japan after being called up for the DTM round at Hockenheim on October 15-16.

Rast confirmed on his Facebook page on Thursday that he would be replacing Matthias Ekstrom at Audi Team Abt Sportsline after the Swede elected to prioritize his rallycross commitments.

Ekstrom is in contention for the FIA World Rallycross title, leading the championship with three rounds remaining. The penultimate race of the year also clashes with the October 16 weekend, leaving Audi in need of a one-off replacement.

Audi may have opted to draft in GP2 racer Antonio Giovinazzi, who replaced Timo Scheider at Moscow last year, but the Italian driver has been signed to the final three races of the WEC season at Extreme Speed Motorsports as part of a new line-up.

As such, Rast will be the man to replace Ekstrom, having already made one appearance so far this year in DTM with Audi at Zandvoort.

Rast’s main commitment in 2016 has been in the WEC with G-Drive in the LMP2 class, racing alongside Roman Rusinov throughout the season and, most recently at COTA, Alex Brundle.

The German driver also made a one-off appearance in Formula E with Team Aguri at the Berlin ePrix in May, but did not secure a full-time seat in the series for season three.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.