Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler took home a double points finish in Rome, its best collective result of the season so far, with second place for Lucas di Grassi and fourth for Daniel Abt.
The German squad has had a mixed bag of a season so far, with di Grassi failing to score any points until Mexico City while Abt has taken two on-track victories, the first of which he was disqualified from.
Qualifying wasn’t much to write home about as the Audi duo started sixth and ninth on the grid, but superb racecraft and energy management from both di Grassi and Abt saw them secure second and fourth respectively, the latter also taking the fastest lap of the race.
di Grassi was more than pleased with the result despite missing out on victory, having initially dropped down the order before making his speed and experience count.
“I’m overjoyed to have clinched a podium for Audi in the successful Formula E premiere in Rome,” said the Brazilian. “After the start, I was only in eighth position, so second in the end is simply fantastic.
“It was an outstanding race that I’m very happy with. Thank you to Audi and everyone who voted for me in the FanBoost, which helped me to overtake Sébastien Buemi today.”
Abt made his way past his team-mate at the beginning of the race, but following a slow pit stop fell down the order. To make matters worse, the radio in his second car failed leaving the German helpless with his energy numbers.
“I was completely on my own out there and had no information about energy management,” said Abt on the loss of his radio. “I was fast anyhow and with the second car, fortunately everything was okay.
“Sebastien [Buemi] and Andre [Lotterer] didn’t make life easy for me. I lost a lot of time behind those two before being able to overtake them. Just one lap longer and I might even have finished on podium. But, as it is, we can be proud of having scored important points after starting from position nine and of having set the fastest race lap.”
It was a gruelling, but pleasing experience for Team Principal Allan McNish, fuelled by adrenaline as di Grassi closed down the race lead in the closing stages.
“My heart was beating like crazy during this race,” said McNish. “It was incredibly close in the end and there was no way to tell whether Lucas would win or finish third. It turned out to be second, plus fourth position and the fastest race lap for Daniel – we’re very happy and already looking forward to the next race in Paris.”
The team now sits fourth in the team’s standings, one point ahead of Panasonic Jaguar Racing and 14 behind Mahindra Racing.