Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi looked set to make it four podiums from four races with a potential second win in Formula E cruelly taken by race ending suspension damage saw his run of form come to an end.
While heartbreaking for the Brazilian, there was some solace as he remained top of the Driver Standings, 10 points clear of rival e.dams-Renault racer Sébastien Buemi, with 58 points to the Audi driver’s name.
Di Grassi had shown himself to be a title contender through the Formula E season and continued in his vein of form at the beginning of the Buenos Aires ePrix day.
The leader in the standings started on the grid in fifth thanks to a strong lap of 1min 09.512secs, around 0.3secs off the pole position of Buemi.
Proving he can dice his way through the field in previous rounds, Di Grassi demonstrated that he could do it again as he moved into third on the eighth lap.
However, his progress came to an end at the challenging final chicane that had already claimed Buemi and Mahindra Racing’s Karun Chandhok. While unlike the other two, di Grassi avoided colliding with the wall, the rough nature of the kerbs had clearly took its toll as his suspension failed on the right rear of his Renault–Spark.
“Eight laps before the finish, the suspension broke without any external influence and as a result I touched the wall,” rued di Grassi. “We did everything right – and as strange as this may sound – we had a strong day and I defended the lead in the Championship.”
Hans-Jürgen Abt, team director, summed up the day as forgettable as Di Grassi’s team-mate Daniel Abt also saw the potential for points fade late into the race.
“This was a day to forget,” he said. “Today we had the chance to make a clean sweep because Lucas’ second victory of the season was already within reach. Instead, we’re going home empty-handed. But we’ve been in racing long enough to know that this is part and parcel of a long season. ‘Well done’ to the pit crew that did a zero-defects job despite the incredible temperatures. We’re keeping our heads up and are going to attack again in the USA.”
It was a sentiment Di Grassi shared, after praising his team as he said: “Today I almost had victory in my hands.”