In round eight of the Formula E electric racing series in Paris, Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt again electrified the crowd with spectacular fightbacks. After a difficult qualifying, the two Audi drivers made up a total of eleven positions in the race. Di Grassi finished runner-up for the third consecutive time, Abt advanced from 14th on the grid to seventh position.
In free practice in the morning, reigning champion di Grassi managed to set a new track record on the city street circuit near the Eiffel Tower. His teammate, Daniel Abt, was only a little slower. However, in qualifying, both drivers at relatively low track temperatures had difficulties getting the tires to work optimally. Di Grassi missed the “Super Pole” of the top five by a razor-thin margin of 0.005 seconds. Abt was only three tenths of a second slower. Because of the extremely fierce competition in Formula E, the German ended up in 14th position – on a track on which overtaking is considered to be particularly difficult.
As on many other occasions this season, both Audi drivers subsequently managed to fully use the potential of the Audi e-tron FE04. Abt in the first half overtook seven competitors. Shortly before the end of the race, he used the Fanboost to overtake former champion Sébastien Buemi in his Renault. On the last lap, the Swiss forced the issue and pushed past Abt again.
Di Grassi made up one position at the start. In the first half of the race, he saved so much energy that he was able to drive two laps longer than the front runners. After a quick pit stop by Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, the Brazilian advanced to fourth position. With a series of fastest laps he closed the gap to the front runners, overtook Rome winner Sam Bird as well as André Lotterer on the last lap who had been running in second position up to that point.
“That was an incredible race and an extremely tough one,” said di Grassi following his third second place in succession and his 23rd podium in total in the electric racing series. “In the first part of the race, I saved energy. In the second part, I was able to go for all-out attack and clinch the trophy for second place. I’m overjoyed!”
Daniel Abt said: “The grid positions were a little disappointing, but in the race I had good overtaking maneuvers. I hope the fans enjoyed the show. Unfortunately, I still lost a position on the last lap because my ‘best friend’ Buemi felt that he had to divebomb me in the chicane. Thanks also for the Fanboost that came in handy today. Next time, we need to do better in qualifying and then there’ll be a trophy again too.”
“What a race in Paris,” said Team Principal Allan McNish. “Especially the last lap was very intensive. We saw brilliant fightbacks by Lucas and Daniel. Daniel is my driver of the day. In a pre-race meeting he said that he’s able to overtake in Paris even though everyone says that that’s impossible. He kept his word. It’s a shame that Buemi’s rough maneuver at the end cost him places. Lucas was again very strong with second and another fastest lap.”
“We didn’t have the best qualifying today,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “On a track on which overtaking is extremely difficult that’s particularly painful. But both drivers drove excellent races, especially Daniel. He showed some nice, clean overtaking maneuvers – without excessive risk, but very determined. Clinching the third consecutive podium with Lucas was fantastic.”
In front of the eyes of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler improved to third position in the teams’ standings of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Lucas di Grassi advanced to fifth position in the drivers’ classification and before Audi’s round on home soil in Berlin on May 19 is ranked two points ahead of his teammate Daniel Abt.