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Battle for Beijing ePrix win ends in violent airborne crash - Di Grassi inherits the victory

Lucas di Grassi claimed victory after an incredible final lap in the first ever ePrix around the streets of Beijing, with long time leaders Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld spectacularly colliding at the final corner

Staff Reporter
13 September 2014, 12:57pm
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT
Prost led for much of the race while Heidfeld jumped up to second during the mandatory stop to change cars, with the duo running clear at the head of the field across the final part of the race.

Prost had to repel an attack from Heidfeld across the final few laps, with the German trying a move at the very last corner as he attempted to take the position away from e.dams driver.

Heidfeld dived down the inside but Prost swerved to defend the line at the tight left-hand corner, launching Heidfeld across the sausage kerbs and into a violent airborne collision with the catch fencing, from which he miraculously emerged unscathed.

A furious Heidfeld was able to clamber from his stricken upside-down Venturi machine to confront Prost, who is his team-mate at Rebellion Racing in the World Endurance Championship.

 

 

Former Formula 1 driver Di Grassi profited from the accident to snatch the lead and claim a historic victory for Audi Sport Abt, despite spending just a few hundred metres at the head of the field. Franck Montagny charged up to second position despite starting from eighth while Sam Bird finished on the podium.

Pole man Prost retained his lead at the start but the field bunched into turn two as Montagny put an aggressive move on Andretti team-mate Charles Pic, with the latter narrowly avoiding the outside wall. Further back, Bruno Senna sustained terminal damage to his Mahindra machine following contact with Takuma Sato, causing the deployment of the Safety Car.

Montagny was the man on the move at the re-start as he made a move on Jaime Alguersuari, which allowed Sam Bird through ahead of his team-mate.

Prost continued to hold a lead over di Grassi and Daniel Abt across the opening stint, while Montagny claimed fourth at the expense of Karun Chandhok.

The pit stops provided much of the intrigue, with drivers having to swap into their second cars and remain in their garages for a minimum of 50 seconds.

The majority of the frontrunners stopped on lap 14 with Prost retaining his advantage as Nick Heidfeld leapt up to second, ahead of di Grassi and the charging Montagny, as Abt slipped to fifth.

Bird opted to stop a lap later and was able to come out in sixth, ahead of Chandhok and Pic, although the Indian hung on to the back of his rival and made the move on the inside of the final corner.

Prost held the lead but Heidfeld closed the gap to sit within a second as the race approached the final five laps. Heidfeld hounded Prost across the final few laps but was unable to get close enough for a move.

Heidfeld got the run at the final corner to try the move, but the duo collided in spectacular fashion, handing the win to di Grassi.

Montagny was elevated to second, while Abt claimed third on the road but was demoted to 10th after using more energy than permitted, enabling Bird to climb onto the bottom step of the podium.

Pic finished in fourth, ahead of Chandhok, who slowed across the final two laps due to an overheating battery. Sixth went to Jérôme d'Ambrosio, while Oriol Servia took eighth after a long battle with Nelson Piquet Jr and Stephane Sarrazin.

Jarno Trulli was unable to start due to a technical issue and he was joined on the side lines by Sato, who stopped on track, and Sebastian Buemi, who sustained rear wing damage but briefly returned to the track in a bid to set the fastest lap. He managed it, but his time was beaten by Sato, whose car eventually got going.

About Formula E

Formula E is the FIA’s new single-seater championship and the world's first fully-electric racing series. The first race – or ePrix - takes place on Saturday, September 13 2014, in Beijing, China, on a temporary street circuit around the Olympic ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium.

The inaugural season runs from September 2014 to June 2015, competing in the heart of 10 of the world's leading cities including London, Buenos Aires and Miami. For the inaugural season, 10 teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head creating a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans.

Formula E aims to represent a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for R&D around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability.

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