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“No reason” for a breakdown in the Rome E-Prix

Audi developed its own powertrain for the first time in the 2021 season, the last in the championship, aiming for its first victory since di Grassi’s triumph at the Berlin E-Prix in May 2019.

Di Grassi inherited the lead of the race in Rome early on after a collision for pole sitter Stoffel Vandoorne and Andre Lotter was supplemented by a drive-through penalty for Oliver Rowland after the Nissan e.dams driver exceeded energy limits.

The Brazilian lost to pursuer and eventual winner Jean-Eric Vergne through the two uses of attack mode, but overtook the DS Techeetah rider with a well-executed lunge at Turn 4.

However, his race was then ended by an as yet unconfirmed driveshaft failure en route to Turn 6, which forced Vandoorne to go offline to guide him over a manhole cover that spun him and meant the race was under Safety has ended vehicle conditions.

Di Grassi told Autosport he drove a perfectly clean race and there was no obvious reason for the car to die.

The 2016-17 Master said, “It was a mechanical failure [at] At the back end, we’re not sure why.

“It has to be opened to pinpoint it. But it wasn’t software, power, or battery.

“It was some mechanical components that failed. Then I didn’t have a ride. I could hear the engine turning, but I had no drive.

Lucas Di Grassi leads Jean-Eric Vergne at the Rome E-Prix

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

“I looked at the dashboard to see if there was an alarm or something, but it was dead.

“Without contact, without contact with the wall. The car had zero points and it was a very good race. There was no reason for that. “

Di Grassi reckoned that he had lost to Vergne in the attack phase because he had been the reference point for drivers on a slippery track that followed after qualifying after a short shower.

He continued: “In the conditions we had, it was an extremely difficult race because it’s half wet, half dry.

“If, like me, you are the lead car, you are the reference. People behind you can easily stay with you because you need to understand whether that corner is wet or not.

“Vergne used his experience and good strategy to overtake me in attack mode, but we had more pace today. We were able to return both times.

“The race was our race. The track dried out and my pace improved. “

Vergne said he let di Grassi pass because he was trying to save energy and thought he could overtake again.

“I didn’t block Lucas when he tried to overtake me,” he said.

“I’ve already saved a lot of energy. I knew he had a little less.

“When I saw that he was trying to attack me, I just let it go. I knew it was six, seven rounds at that point … I could get him back in the end.”

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