Bungled Saturday at Formula E race in Paris

Round six of the season in the French capital was an event that Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport is going to quickly chalk up to experience. Last year’s winner Lucas di Grassi only qualified for position 13 and his teammate, Daniel Abt, only for 16th on the grid. Consequently, the fact that, following the vote, Formula E fans supported both campaigners of Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport with extra power via FanBoost on the narrow 1.92-kilometer circuit around the Dôme des Invalides was of no help either.

For Lucas di Grassi, the Paris race started to become turbulent on lap 16 when he was pushed into the guard rail during an overtaking maneuver. The Brazilian was able to continue his race and switch to the second car during the neutralization triggered by this accident. However, because his team sent him out again too early, he had to serve a drive-through penalty while running in position 16. Left without any chance that way, the team changed the strategy and, during another pit stop, optimized the car for the pursuit of an extra point for the fastest race lap – which on the 47th of 49 race laps, however, ended in an excursion into the track barrier. The safety car period triggered by this incident neutralized the race until the checkered flag fell.

For Daniel Abt, the race took an unfortunate turn as well. After the driver from Kempten had recovered the largest number of positions in the entire field and spectacularly advanced from position 16 on the grid to 6th place, the 24-year-old, on the last lap of the neutralized race a few meters in front of the checkered flag, broke down with a battery management defect and was ultimately classified in 13th place. It would have been the fourth consecutive top-seven position for the young German who ranks in tenth place of the drivers’ standings.

In spite of having finished out of the points for the first time this season, Lucas di Grassi, after six of twelve races, will be traveling to Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s home round as the runner-up in the drivers’ standings. On June 10 and 11, the German fans will be witnessing two races at the former airport in Berlin-Tempelhof.

A word from … Team Director Hans-Jürgen Abt

The race in Paris, no doubt, did not meet your expectations…
Hans-Jürgen Abt: “Setbacks like this one happen in motorsport – and especially in Formula E where racing is literally close. Obviously, we’re all in low spirits at the moments – the drivers just like all the engineers and mechanics. But we’ve had many great successes and are going to get over this result. I hope that now we’ve used up all the misfortune for this season and are going to strike back in just three weeks’ time.”

So the dream of the championship is alive?
“Of course, it is. We’ve basically been competing for the title for three years. And a result like the one today doesn’t change our attitude of always fighting up until the finish line in any way. So, we’ve got a nice challenge now for Berlin…”

It also strikes us that you and your team are the ones to deliver the really big surprises and sensations. What’s the secret?
“As a team director, I’d sometimes prefer us – like our rival Sébastien Buemi – to be in contention at the front in almost all events and to bring the victories home. But in our case, there’s often a little drama involved. That makes it so much sweeter to fight back as a team. After all, that’s proof of a special strength in the team.”

How excited are you about the upcoming home round in Berlin?
“Berlin is always a very special event for us as a German team and, with a double podium last year, was obviously a great one. We’re hoping for major support by the German fans in the capital city. The enthusiasm of the Berliners for outstanding events can always be inspired. We’re offering them a unique view of sporty electric mobility.”

Audi is increasingly showing its colors in your team and will be fully committed from the next season on. Has a large number of “Audians” announced their attendance in Berlin?
“Yes, we know that many members of the Audi family are going to use the opportunity to watch Formula E live now – even some members of the board of management have announced their attendance. We’re proud that Audi is making a factory-backed commitment to Formula E. We’ve been working together with Audi really well in factory-backed racing for over 20 years now. We were the pioneers in terms of Formula E and obviously hope that we’re still going to celebrate a large number of major successes together with Audi and our other partners. We wouldn’t mind starting to do so in three weeks from now…”

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