The title fight in Formula E is very close with three races still to go this season. In the middle of the action is the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team with its two drivers René Rast and Lucas di Grassi, who further narrowed the gap to the top by finishing fifth and sixth in Saturday’s race. The next world championship race will take place in and around the ExCeL London on Sunday (July 25).
Fans in London and in front of their televisions all around the world saw Formula E’s spectacular return to London on Saturday: for the first time, the all-electric world championship started on a layout with a mixture of indoor and outdoor parts around the ExCeL Arena in the east of the UK capital. Heavy rain on the morning of race day made for unpredictable track conditions and a lottery in qualifying. The result: a mixed starting grid with Lucas di Grassi ending up fastest in his qualifying group and in 7th place on the grid. Teammate René Rast qualified in 13th.
“Today’s race was very much characterized by strategy and once again offered the fans a lot of action,” says Team Principal Allan McNish. “René and Lucas both put up a strong fight. In addition, our engineers in the pits kept track of everything during all the challenges. In the end, we were rewarded with the fifth and sixth places, closing the gaps on our championship rivals in both title battles.”
René Rast made up a few positions right after the start and moved up into the points. Together with Lucas di Grassi, the German drove a clean race, taking turns with his teammate while trying to overtake rivals. “It was a good day today, but also a crazy race,” says René Rast. “I lost some parts in a few touches at the start, plus my steering was a little bent, but we still made up eight places. That’s a good starting position for tomorrow and the upcoming races.”
Lucas di Grassi was unlucky during both of his attack mode activations, because he twice got stuck behind a competitor. “Sometimes we gained positions, then lost them again. That’s why we didn’t get as far ahead as we had hoped,” says the Brazilian. “Still, the points today are extremely important, because I’ve never seen a tighter title fight than what we have now with three races to go this season.”
In terms of the numbers: Before Sunday’s race and the final two rounds, René Rast is seventh in the championship and only nine points behind the leader of the standings. Lucas di Grassi is tenth and just 19 points behind. The situation in the teams’ standings is just as close: Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is only 14 points behind the leader.
The Envision Virgin Racing customer team remained without points on Saturday: Nick Cassidy and his teammate Robin Frijns finished 11th and 13th. The next round will already begin in London on Sunday: The 13th round of the season kicks off at 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m. CEST) on Sunday.