As the Formula E racing sundays nears its end, Lucas di Grassi has to gather his courage once again. Cautiously, he fumbles towards the abyss and looks down. There’s no escape. Euphoric cheering, cameras everywhere and smartphones blinking. He’s already soaked thanks to champagne, so he grits his teeth and gets to it. A short attempt, then a cartwheel from several meters up. The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team rejoice when their current champion emerges from the Lake Zurich unharmed. An unusual end of the day of a not commonplace event in Zurich. Because there had been a serious accident in Le Mans back in the year 1954, circuit races were prohibited in Switzerland.
Audi pilot Lucas di Grassi wins Formula E in Zurich
During the historic first Zurich E-Prix in the Formula E, Audi pilot Lucas di Grassi made a comprehensive victory: For one with his first season win, followed by a great posture during a jump into the Lake Zurich.
However, with a glance at the Formula E, the Federal Council opted for an exemption permit for electrically powered vehicles in the end of 2015 – paving the way for the return of the Swiss motor sport. That the first Zurich E-Prix would become this gigantic though, only a few people would have guessed. More than 100,000 visitors came to the racing track during the Sunday on that the race took place – a record crowd for the Formula E. During sunshine and sticky 28 degrees Celsius, the visitors were welcomed with several spectacles.
For example, a furious round of Audi pilot di Grassi in the first free practice. In the early morning hours, the Brazilian set a new track record that no other driver would come near during the day’s course. Something was made clear right from the beginning: The Audi e-tron FE04 would work just fine on the challenging track in Zurich. During the qualifying, di Grassi and team colleague Daniel Abt struggled with their luck of the draw once more. Both had to start their fast round during an early point in the group phase and thus had to deal with worse grip conditions. In the end, both barely missed the top 5 positions that would have qualified them for the Super Pole Session. Nonetheless, di Grassi went into the race on starting position 5 due to the disciplinary transfer of an opponent, while Abt started on position 9.
Daniel Abt mixed up in accident involuntarily
After his impressive win in Berlin, the Zurich E-Prix took an unfortunate turn for the German Abt without his own fault. Already in the first round, Nelson Piquet jr. rear-ended Abt’s car, making the German lose his rear wing. A little later, he had to drive into the box where the Audi team assembled a new wing in just 13 seconds. With around 50 seconds backlog on the top, the race was over for the 25-year-old – in the end, he made the 13th place and collected no points in Zurich. Team colleague di Grassi on the contrary, asserted his strength in the running trim and fought from starting place five to the top within the course of 18 rounds with some worth seeing passing maneuvers. After a quick pit stop, the 33-year-old carried the victory home effortlessly.
For di Grassi, it was the fifth time standing on the podium in a row – a Formula E record as well. Additionally, he is one of two drivers aside from two drivers that were able to win a race in every Formula E season. During the final weekend in New York on July 14 and 15, he could theoretically gain the vice title. However, the primary goal is the team championship for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team, because the frontrunner Techeetah is only 33 points away – while there are still 94 points to be awarded that one team can gain maximally. If di Grassi and his team members will jump into the Hudson River in case they win the title remains to be seen.
Formula E: Historic victory for Audi in front of record turnout in Zurich
Title defender Lucas di Grassi has given Audi an historic victory in the Formula E electric racing series. In front of a record turnout, the Brazilian won the first E-Prix on Swiss soil.Read more
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