Title defender Lucas di Grassi has given Audi a 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.
Since 1954, no international circuit race has been held in Switzerland. The return of international motorsport attracted far more than 100,000 spectators to the city circuit in the financial district of the metropolis. The crowd got to see an impressive presentation of Audi’s e-tron technology. After starting the race from fifth place on the grid, it took Lucas di Grassi only 18 laps to take the lead and to subsequently clinch an uncontested victory. After 39 laps, the Audi driver had a 7.542-second advantage over runner-up Sam Bird in a DS Virgin.
64 years apart – last race in Switzerland was 1954 before the 2018 ePrix. Winners: Fangio and Di Grassi. Hã? how cool is that!? ? let me repeat to myself once more ? @FIAFormulaE making history… pic.twitter.com/RzTPpOcdAE
— LUCAS DI GRASSI (@LucasdiGrassi) June 11, 2018
For di Grassi, this marked his seventh Formula E triumph in total and the first victory in the 2017/2018 season. “It was an outstanding race and I’m extremely happy,” said the Audi driver who was presented with the trophy by City President Corine Mauch. “Winning the first circuit race on Swiss soil after more than 64 years is simply fantastic. My Audie-tron FE04 was super-fast today and allowed me to win the race from fifth place on the grid.”
With his victory, di Grassi moved up to third place in the driver’s championship and still has a chance of finishing runner-up with the final two races in New York (USA) on July 14 and 15. The Brazilian exuberantly celebrated his triumph in Switzerland with a jump into Lake Zurich – keeping a promise he had made to his team in case he would clinch the victory.
Look at that crazy Brazilian jumping into Lake Zurich! He was not alone! @LucasdiGrassi won the historic @FIAFormulaE #ZurichEPrix. Check out our VLOG to see more from behind the scenes! Whose jump was the best?
— Audi Sport (@audisport) June 12, 2018
Scoring its second victory in succession and third this season, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler closed the gap by eleven points in the teams’ classification
The team lies second behind leaders Techeetah before the last two races.
An even better points-haul was prevented by Nelson Piquet. The ex-champion rear-ended Daniel Abt on lap one and broke off Abt’s rear wing in the incident. The Audi driver had to make an unscheduled pit stop and finished 13th out of the points. “The guys replaced the rear wing super-fast,” said Abt. “But we would have needed a safety car to get back into the race. Unfortunately, it wasn’t deployed. I’m very disappointed but happy for Lucas and the team.”
“For Daniel, it was really unfortunate,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “In the collision on lap one, there was absolutely nothing he could do. Still, it was a great day for us. It was a fantastic event with an incredible turnout of enthusiastic spectators, a great atmosphere and a superb facility. Lucas drove a fantastic race. It doesn’t happen very often that when you start the race from fifth position you overtake all the cars in front of you and win the race.”
“Lucas timed his attacks with absolute perfection,” said Team Principal Allan McNish. “I’m especially happy for his crew that had a difficult start of the season and now has fully come back. And of course, after the home round in Berlin, it’s fantastic for Audi to have won the first circuit race in Switzerland in 64 years as well.”
— Audi Formula E (@audiformulae) June 10, 2018