By Dylan Coyle
WHIP Radio Assistant Sports Director Dylan Coyle reports from New York on the latest in the Forumla E World Championship title hunt
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Audi.
After scoring 12 points in the first four races of the season, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler has brought themselves within five points of Techeetah in the Team Championship. Coming off their first-ever 1-2 finish, in which Lucas di Grassi took the checkered flag for the second race in a row and teammate Daniel Abt took 2nd, Audi have scored 218 points in the past seven races.
This means they have taken an astonishing 66% of the maximum available points.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering they have the reigning champion in di Grassi as well as series veteran Daniel Abt, who would’ve had three wins this season if he wasn’t disqualified after round 2 in Hong Kong. Audi is in the midst of its first season in Formula E, but with the funds they have at their disposal, they will only get stronger. Obviously, with round 12 in New York being the last race for the first-generation car, there could be some growing pains in season five, but it would be a major disappointment if they aren’t a championship-contending team next year.
It has been a very strong weekend in New York for the team. “Going into this race,” Abt said yesterday, “I think we were quite aware that we had a strong package.”
Even with Audi’s strong results so far this weekend, Techeetah shouldn’t be taken lightly. Jean-Eric Vergne, the new champion, and Andre Lotterer sat atop the time chart during qualifying yesterday before both drivers’ times were disqualified due to overusing the maximum qualifying energy usage of 200kW at 205kW and 204kW, respectively. Starting from the back, Vergne finished 5th and Lotterer finished 7th, and that indicates that there might’ve been a good fight between the two teams if Techeetah didn’t have their times cancelled.
Di Grassi and Abt had an on-track spat yesterday in their fight for 1st, as di Grassi got into the back of Abt and pushed him wide to take the position away from Abt. Abt said that there were team orders, but Audi team principal Allan McNish said that it was a “misunderstanding” and that there were no messages of any sort until later on. Whether or not the teammates come together will be something to watch for in round 12, but with the realistic goal of winning the championship on the table, fighting for an individual spot might not be at the forefront of their minds.
“We’re absolutely able to win the Team Championship,” Abt said, adding on by saying it was the goal coming into this weekend.
In today’s Formula E season finale, di Grassi will start 5th and Abt will start 4th, while Vergne will start 3rd and Lotterer will start 2nd. The advantage at the start will be held by Techeetah, even though Renualt e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi will start on pole for the second time in as many days.
Techeetah currently leads the Team Championship, 235-230, but Audi’s recent dominance could be the difference at the day’s end.
This article was written, researched, and published by WHIP Radio Assistant Sports Director Dylan Coyle. If you wish to interact with Dylan, you can reach him on Twitter at @DylanRCoyle.
Photo: Formula E
I am the Sports Director at WHIP Radio. I am also the Media Director of the Temple University Ice Hockey Club, Broadcast/Media Relations Assistant of the Reading Royals, and a writer for Klein College.