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Brazilian di Grassi stole victory in first ePrix

History was made this weekend as the world’s first ever fully-electric single-seater race took place in Beijing, marking the successful season opener of the FIA Formula E Championship.

The race, Beijing Evergrande Spring ePrix, was held on a spectacular temporary race track built around the city’s iconic Olympic ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium and was won by Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi.
Some 40 million are believed to have watched the race worldwide on television with 75,000 attending on site and one billion social interactions recorded around the race.

Brazilian Di Grassi stole victory after race-leader Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) and Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld touched on the final corner of the final lap in the battle for the lead, sending Heidfeld into a spectacular crash which he walked away from unharmed.
Andretti driver Franck Montagny finished runner-up nearly three seconds adrift of Di Grassi with team-mate Daniel Abt crossing the line third, only to later have it taken away from him after failing short of the required 28kw power consumption usage. Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was promoted to claim the final place on the podium.

Lucas di Grassi said: “Firstly, I’m happy Nick [Heidfeld] is ok and it shows how safe these cars are. I didn’t see what happened myself but it’s like a dream come true. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The team did a great job all through practice and qualifying, yes we made a few mistakes but overall I’m extremely happy to be the first ever winner of a Formula E race.”

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E said: “Two years ago the FIA had a vision of creating a championship which has close racing, entertainment and sustainability at its heart. This weekend, that vision became a reality. To see 20 fully-electric cars racing towards the first corner was a very special moment for me and for everyone involved. We truly believe this weekend marks a new era of motorsport that embraces sustainable mobility and we are incredibly grateful to all our investors, teams, drivers, partners, event operators, personnel, and of course the FIA, for helping us make this such a success. Of course, I’d also like to congratulate Lucas di Grassi on being the first Formula E winner.”

He added: “What is more important to us is that Formula E is the biggest digital race in the world with real racing. We’re proud to announce that during this ePrix we’ve had a live worldwide television audience of 40 million, 75,000 people on site and more than one billion social interactions.”

Formula E is the FIA’s new fully-electric single-seater championship designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans. Competing entirely on city-centre circuits all over the world, it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). Its 10 teams feature some of the leading international names in motorsport including Alain Prost and Michael Andretti, along with high-profile environmental supporters including Sir Richard Branson. Meanwhile, it’s driver-line up boasts an array of former Formula One stars such as Jarno Trulli, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Lucas di Grassi and Bruno Senna – nephew of the great Aryton. Organisers hope the new series will help increase the interest in electric vehicles and promote sustainability, as well as accelerate the technology available which, over time, will filter into the road-going electric vehicle market.

Round two of the new Formula E series takes place in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on November 22 2014.


Race results

01 11 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 25 52:23.413 127.5 1:46.718 19
02 27 Franck Montagny Andretti Autosport 25 52:26.280 2.867 127.4 1:46.640 24
03 2 Sam Bird Virgin Racing 25 52:29.972 6.559 3.692 127.2 1:46.563 21
04 28 Charles Pic Andretti Autosport 25 52:42.714 19.301 12.742 126.7 1:46.730 23
05 5 Karun Chandhok Mahindra Racing 25 52:47.365 23.952 4.651 126.5 1:45.892 20
06 7 Jerome d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing 25 52:55.077 31.664 7.712 126.2 1:47.313 24
07 6 Oriol Servia Dragon Racing 25 53:05.381 41.968 10.304 125.8 1:47.361 21
08 99 Nelson Piquet China Racing 25 53:07.309 43.896 1.928 125.7 1:47.819 18
09 30 Stephane Sarrazin Venturi 25 53:07.388 43.975 0.079 125.7 1:47.832 17
10 66 Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 25 53:25.920 1:02.507 125.0 1:46.551 17
11 3 Jaime Alguersuari Virgin Racing 25 54:24.026 2:00.613 122.8 1:47.914 7
12 8 Nicolas Prost (P) e.dams-Renault 24 50:31.252 1 Lap 126.9 1:46.227 24
13 23 Nick Heidfeld Venturi 24 50:31.881 1 Lap 126.9 1:46.214 24
14 18 Michela Cerruti Trulli 24 52:41.375 1 Lap 121.7 1:49.469 15
15 77 Katherine Legge Amlin Aguri 24 53:24.538 1 Lap 120.1 1:48.753 21
16 88 Ho-Pin Tung China Racing 23 53:58.750 2 Laps 113.8 1:48.793 16
17 55 Takuma Sato (FL) Amlin Aguri 21 50:52.279 1:45.101 21
18 9 Sébastien Buemi e.dams-Renault 14 37:24.671 1:45.874 13
19 10 Jarno Trulli Trulli 2 41:22.799 1:52.596 2
20 21 Bruno Senna Mahindra Racing