Formula E

Lucas di Grassi claims Puturajaya Victory

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FIA Formula E Championship 2015/16. Beijing ePrix, Beijing, China. Qualifying Session. Lucas Di Grassi (BRA), ABT Audi Sport FE01 Beijing, China, Asia. Saturday 24 October 2015 Photo: Adam Warner / LAT / FE ref: Digital Image _L5R1998

Lucas di Grassi claimed victory in a frantic Puturajaya ePrix ahead of DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird and Andretti Formula E’s Robin Frijns.

Victory for di Grassi meant that the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver took the lead of the drivers’ championship standings, whilst Bird was able to climb through the field from 14th position to come across the line in second. Frijns had a near miss in the closing stages of the race after he came into contact with a barrier, causing damage to the rear right of his car, but was able to keep his cool in order to come home and claim the final podium position.

There were problems from the get go for drivers including Stephane Sarrazin who was forced to start from the pitlane when his car failed to get off the line during the formation lap.

The start was much easier for poleman Sebastien Buemi who was able to slowly but gradually extend his lead over Loic Duval, however this gap was closed when a Safety Car appeared for the stricken NEXTEV TCR car of Oliver Turvey. The British driver had managed to hit the wall nose first after he appeared to have a problem with his throttle.

Duval allowed Bumei to get away from him again at the restart when he did his best to keep Team Aguri’s Antonio Felix da Costa behind him. Nicolas Prost and di Grassi were also running close behind the battle for second position and on lap nine, Prost took an undercut to snatch third from da Costa and was soon close behind the Dragon Racing car in second.

Prost was one of the first to bring his car into the pits when it became clear that the Frenchman was suffering from a temperature issue. His Renault e.DAMS teammate Buemi also had an issue with car in the form of a software issue but when both got going again after their changes, the pair re-joined in points positions.

After Duval suffered from a slow stop and both da Costa and di Grassi had managed to jump ahead of him, di Grassi quickly made a move on the Team Augri man in front of him before he made his charge on Prost. Thanks to his early stop, the e.DAMS driver was being told to take fuel-saving measures and this allowed the ABT driver to breeze past his French rival into Turn 1.

At Turn 7, da Costa made his move on Prost but a suspected electronics failure slowed him down and all hopes of the Portuguese driver finding himself on the podium were gone.

In the closing laps, the battle for second and third became intense with Prost, Duval, Jerome d’Ambrosio and Frijns all in the picture.

Duval had the upper hand when he passed Prost for second before d’Ambrosio quickly made his move on Prost to snatch third. Unfortunately for Duval, he ran straight on at Turn 1 and picked up damage to the rear of his car, promoting his teammate into second.

Frijns was the next driver to pick up damage to his car when the Dutch driver had a moment at Turn 9. Hitting the wall, he picked up damage to the rear-right of his car which allowed Sam Bird to pass him.

Whilst a podium was in sight for d’Ambrosio, a last lap error from the Dragon driver stripped him of his second position, promoting Bird and despite carrying damage, Frijns.

Sarrazin crossed the line fourth despite his problems before the race had got underway. Bruno Senna finished behind the Frenchman to claim fifth, an incredible result after the Brazilian had a difficult race in Beijing.

Despite running for a podium at one stage, da Costa came home in sixth place ahead of Daniel Abt and Nelson Piquet JR. Nick Heidfeld and Prost crossed the line to make up the Top Ten.

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