ABT finishes on the podium to start the new Formula E season

Lucas di Grassi made a near perfect start to the new Formula E season when finishing second in Hong Kong. After 45 dramatic laps in the Asian metropolis, the Brazilian competing for the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team was overjoyed on the podium – and this after starting the race from the penultimate grid slot and an extra pit stop! One of the reasons for the squad’s 18th podium finish was the courageous strategy.

Wild party in front of approximately 25,000 fans as the electric racing series made its first appearance in Hong Kong: with the impressive metropolis skyline in the background, the spectators enjoyed right at the start of the season one of the craziest races ever seen. And a continuation of the great battle that raged over the past months: Sébastien Buemi won from his arch rival Lucas di Grassi. As a result, the Brazilian has now claimed 14 podiums and his 18th points scoring finish in the 22 races staged to date.

Reason for the spectacular development on Sunday was a safety car phase just a few laps before the half-way stage of the race, which made different strategies an option for the team ten teams to execute the mandatory pit stop including swapping cars. The most courageous, but also best decision was made by ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, when it was the only team to call in its driver one lap before the theoretical pit window. As a result, Lucas di Grassi moved up from the back of the field into the leading group, but had to be extremely careful in the second car about his energy consumption – which he managed superbly.

“This second place feels like a win, I’m overjoyed,” said Lucas di Grassi. “The race showed once again that it’s really only over when you take the checkered flag in Formula E. Thanks to my team that was brave today and showed that we never give up. This is an important message to the competition for the new season.” Following a slip up in qualifying, di Grassi started the race from the penultimate slot on the grid and even made an extra pit stop after just a few laps, in order to change the nose on his ABT Schaeffler FE02 that was damaged in a collision in record time.

A similar fate also befell Daniel Abt. The youngster started the race from a strong seventh place, but was hit by several competitors on the opening lap and called into the pits by the race stewards in order to repair the rear wing. After changing to the other car and making an unsuccessful attempt to set the fastest race lap, he had to park his electric racer early and scored no points in the opening race.

“Congratulations to Formula E for such a spectacular opening race in a fascinating location. And congratulations to my guys and Lucas for giving their all, their courage and dedication,” said Team Boss Hans-Jürgen Abt. “Of course we had some luck today, but we also worked hard for it. This day full of mixed feeling and a happy end will carry us with momentum into the new season.”

The next race is just around the corner: on November 12, Formula E stages its second race in Marrakesh (Morocco). “Lucas’ trophy is great for the team’s moral. Almost more important is, however, the knowledge that we have produced a race car together with our partners that is on the pace and capable of winning race. This increases the desire for the next eleven races to come this season.”

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