• DTM champion secures third with spectacular pass on last lap • Lucas di Grassi still fighting for runner-up spot in the championship • Podium for customer team Envision Virgin Racing and Robin Frijns
René Rast has arrived in Formula E. In his fifth race for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team, the Audi factory driver fought his way to his first podium in the electric racing series with a spectacular pass shortly before the finish.
The two-time DTM champion is a quick learner. After his fourth race on Sunday, which was disappointing for him, Rast showed himself in outstanding form on the extended track at Tempelhof in Berlin: fastest in group qualifying, which scored him an extra point, fourth in Super Pole and an intelligent race wherein he fully exploited the efficiency of his Audi e-tron FE06 and, on the final lap, squeezed past André Lotterer’s Porsche with a brave move.
“My team told me that I had 0.5 percent more energy than André available for the final lap,” said Rast. “I saw that he was having problems and thus fully attacked him.” Rast won the duel against Lotterer, although the Porsche driver defended forcefully and there were several touches. “There was some rubbing,” said Rast. “But, I’ve learned in the last few days that this is part of Formula E. I’m really happy about my first Formula E podium.”
Lucas di Grassi still has a chance of finishing runner-up in the championship before the last race of the season on Thursday, although he did not score points on Wednesday. The Brazilian collided with the new champion, António Félix da Costa, and punctured a tire in the process. After the pit stop, di Grassi recorded the fastest race lap.
The Brazilian had to start the race from the last row of the grid, after four drivers of the first qualifying group were unable to set a time lap. “If you want to have a chance in group one, you have to leave the pits as late as possible,” said di Grassi. “The cars in front of me were driving so slowly that we all crossed the line too late.” Strangely enough, it hit all four Formula E champions on the grid.
“One car in front, one in the back,” said Team Principal Allan McNish. “What happened to Lucas in qualifying was extremely annoying, because he had a very fast car. A small consolation is that he will be in the second qualifying group tomorrow. René was simply great today. He made perfect use of the advantage of being in the fourth group in qualifying, cleverly managed his energy in the race and attacked at the end. The race on Sunday was a disappointment for him. Today he showed that he learns quickly and is a real fighter.”
Robin Frijns from customer team Envision Virgin Racing also made it onto the podium on Wednesday evening. The Audi factory driver from the DTM started second and also maintained this position in the race.