Lucas di Grassi reclaims Formula E championship lead

Lucas di Grassi from the ABT Sportsline team reclaimed the Formula E championship lead after finishing third in the race in Long Beach (USA). The Brazilian was only beaten to the flag by Nelson Piquet Jr. and Jean-Eric Vergne. Beforehand, team mate Daniel Abt had grabbed the headlines after becoming the first German in Formula E to claim pole position.

It was the fourth podium finish in six races for Lucas di Grassi. However, the Brazilian had to digest a no-score and a ninth place more recently. The delight at the finish was correspondingly high. “It’s fantastic to be on the podium again,” said di Grassi. “We had a brief slump in form, but the team never gave up and we fought our way together back to the top.” Deserved reward: the lead in the overall standings after six of eleven races. “A wonderful feeling to travel to my home race in Monaco at leader. The fans can look forward to an exciting second half of the season.”

Lucas di Grassi started the race from an excellent fourth position. Team mate Daniel Abt mastered qualifying at midday even better. With the momentum from his podium finish in Miami, the German initially took second position before benefitting from a competitor being given a penalty. In the race, Abt held second place for many laps and third after the pit stop before he dropped to 15th place after being handed a drive through penalty. Reason: the 22-year old German briefly used more than the maximum 150 kilowatts permitted in the race.

“A day of mixed feelings: first the delight about pole position, a few hours later then the disappointment of losing valuable points,” said Daniel Abt. “As driver you have no influence over the power, you can only step on the gas. We will now analyse exactly what went wrong to ensure we arrive in Monaco in top form.”

Lead in the drivers’ standings and points gap reduced in the teams’ classification, in which the German-Brazilian double still holds second place: ABT Sportsline starts the ‘European season’ in a good position in the Formula E. “The race day here in Long Beach was a good example of how hard this race series can be. However, we didn’t get into a panic, but just continued to work hard and concentrated,” said Team Boss Hans-Jürgen Abt. Because the Saturday in California didn’t go according to plan: First Daniel Abt slid into the wall in the first free practice early in the morning, only a few hours later an external battery on Lucas di Grassi’s car burst into flames. The mechanics had two extra busy shifts to start the day. “It was great to see how the entire team stuck together and helped each other,” said Abt.

The race in Long Beach was the sixth of eleven races in the FIA Formula E, to which events in Asia, Uruguay, Argentina, the USA, Monaco, Great Britain, Russia and Germany belong. “The race in Long Beach was one of the highlights of the season so far. It was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic fans in front of our garage and in the grandstands,” said Hans-Jürgen Abt. “And also the location direct on the ocean was spectacular again.” The seventh race follows in one month when the Formula E arrives in Europe: Daniel Abt and company start in the streets of Monaco on May 9, 2015.

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