With 37 trophies clinched in 49 races, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is the most successful team in the international field. Lucas di Grassi has scored nine victories and his teammate Daniel Abt has won two. Plus, their tally includes eleven fastest race laps and five pole positions: an impressive track record to date, but that’s no reason for the Audi factory team to rest on its laurels.
“Needless to say, we intend to take the emotions and positive momentum from Lucas’ last-second victory in Mexico with us. Even so, everything will be reset to zero in Hong Kong, because the track’s character is totally different to the one in Mexico,” says Team Principal Allan McNish. “I’m particularly excited to see Daniel (Abt), who has always done well in Hong Kong and, after his victory was taken away last time, he still has a score to settle there. From a team perspective, we’d obviously like to make our 50th race a special one. With the win in Mexico and Daniel’s podium in Santiago, we’re headed in the right direction.”
For the first time, Hong Kong is not hosting the season opener, but a mid-season race. The Asian metropolis arguably provides the most colorful setting on the calendar: The paddock and race track in the heart of the city are located right on the waterfront around the famous Ferris wheel. The 1.860-kilometer circuit is narrow and challenging, which perfectly suits Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi: Both have been on podium before in Hong Kong. At the opening event of the fourth season in December 2017, Daniel Abt crossed the finish line as the winner, but was retrospectively stripped of his victory due to an administrative mistake of the team regarding the car’s documentation.
“I’ve still got twenty-five points lying around in Hong Kong that I’d like to pick up this time,” Daniel Abt says with a smile. “I think the track is cool and the atmosphere with the fans is fantastic, too. Lucas and I have always been pretty strong there and now that we’ve overcome our somewhat bumpy start to the season, we’re planning to attack. Qualifying will play an important part, because overtaking in Hong Kong is difficult – but we’ve said that before at other races as well, only to find out otherwise.”
Still unforgotten is Lucas di Grassi’s second place at the premiere in Hong Kong in 2016: Following a crash on the first lap, the Brazilian had to make an additional pit stop that included changing his front wing. With a bold strategy and perfect energy management, he fought back from the back of the field to finish on the podium.