Exclusive | Rast on his campaign so far: “The season overall is an up and down rollercoaster”

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René Rast finished in P15 in Formula E first practice in Jakarta and explained the harsh challenge of the street circuit in an exclusive interview with PitDebrief.com.

The NEOM McLaren Formula E Team driver experienced the 18-turn for the first time in his career and said: “It’s a very difficult circuit you almost have no time to breathe. We have the long start-finish straight which is almost the only straight line.

“All the other straight lines your fighting the car a lot on bumps or braking so there is no real time to breath. It’s quite a challenging track especially when the grip is so low with all the dirt on track but so far I like it.”

The German driver completed FP1 ahead of his team mate Jake Hughes by less than a tenth of a second as Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Günther topped the timesheets.

The track had very little grip early in the session. This is common practice for Formula E events due to the location of their races.

Despite both McLaren’s languishing outside the top 10 Rast stressed the importance of keeping calm when chasing lap time.

“But I think once the track is getting into a decent state the car will feel very different so we shouldn’t overreact maybe we should let the track come to us and then see what the balance will be like.

“But right now we are all over the place sliding and just trying to stick to the racing line which is very difficult.”

The 36-year-old said the circuit developed over the session as rubber was laid down and the lap times got quicker.

“It was a difficult session, first time for us in Jakarta. It was a very tricky session due to the track improvement it felt like the track was getting better and better.

“It was very dirty in the beginning of the session and improved throughout the run and everybody is fighting with car balance so we need to find a direction to follow for tomorrow.”

Rast has endured a mixed campaign on his return to Formula E after a year away. The McLaren driver sits 10th in the championship, five points behind his team mate Hughes.

The three-time DTM champion scored a third place at the second round of the year in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia but hasn’t achieved a points finish in the last two rounds in Berlin and Monaco.

The McLaren driver shed light on his “rollercoaster” of a season to date and the constant pursuit of lap time to move further up the field.

“It’s a bit of a rollercoaster, Mexico for sure wasn’t my weekend but Diriyah for example was a very good weekend where Jake had a pole and I was on the podium so we had a very good momentum.

“Then for the following races we had the pace but was not good enough to get more podiums. Since Berlin we had a bit of a down.

“Monaco was a high again with another pole for Jake but here we need to see and wait.

“At the moment we are missing a bit of lap time but this is also due to us being new to the track and not performing on the highest level due to the track conditions.

“As I said we shouldn’t overreact but the season overall is an up and down rollercoaster.”