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Berlin Post-Race Notebook

e-racing365’s post-race notebook after Saturday’s Berlin E-Prix…

Photo: Audi

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler has closed the gap to DS Techeetah in the teams’ standings after Lucas di Grassi gave it its second consecutive win on home turf in Saturday’s Berlin E-Prix. Di Grassi and Abt scored a combined total of 34 points, while DS Techeetah only came away with Jean-Eric Vergne’s 15 points for third.

***Vergne extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to six points, with di Grassi moving into second place on 96 points to the reigning champion’s 102. Andre Lotterer dropped to third due to his retirement, after coming to Berlin trailing DS Techeetah teammate Vergne by just one point.

***Pole-sitter Sebastien Buemi will go two years without scoring a Formula E win after missing out this weekend. The Season Two champion, who finished second yesterday, last won a Formula E race in Berlin two years ago, on June 10, 2017.

***Saturday marked his first podium finish of the season for the Nissan e.dams driver, and his best result since last season’s Marrakesh E-Prix.

***He still holds the record for the most race wins at 12, although di Grassi is closing in on him after scoring his tenth on Saturday.

***Di Grassi’s two overtakes, to pass Stoffel Vandoorne for second and Sebastien Buemi for the lead, were almost identical. The Audi driver executed both moves on the inside of the Turn 6 hairpin on Lap 2 (Vandoorne) and Lap 5 (Buemi).

***Envision Virgin Racing had another difficult weekend, which included a problem in qualifying for Robin Frijns. The Dutchman had a sensor failure on his group qualifying lap, qualifying 21st, while a five-place grid drop from Monaco moved him back one position to last on the grid.

***The other driver who failed to set a representative lap time in qualifying was Andre Lotterer, who crossed the line to attempt to start his flying lap just moments after the checkered flag flew. The German made his way up through the field after a strong start to the race but he was forced to retire with a battery issue.

***Maro Engel took to commentary duties for German broadcaster ARD Sportschau on Saturday. The Mercedes-AMG factory driver has competed in two full Formula E seasons with Venturi.

***Buemi completed some running on parts of the Bern E-Prix circuit between the Monaco and Berlin races, using one of the Formula E demo cars. The track has been reported to e-racing365 as being “spectacular and having elevation never previously seen in the series before.”

***Bern will host the next round after Berlin, with Formula E returning to Switzerland for a second year but debuting in the capital after running in Zurich last June.

***Some teams have expressed concern over the Bern track’s elevation changes. “Temperatures will be an issue for sure and demand on regen will be critical,” one technical director told e-racing365. “So I think using the torque throughout the race will see a very demanding event, the scale of which we probably haven’t witnessed before.”

***Yaqi Zhang was forced to start the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY race from the back of the grid after the ride height on his car was found to be 126 mm instead of the required 128 mm following qualifying. He was later fined £500 because his representative was not available to visit the stewards, having left the track.

***Zhang was set to start from Pro-Am pole after qualifying sixth overall, but his penalty moved Bandar Alesayi to the class pole. He went on to take the class win after making up a number of positions on the opening lap.

***Sergio Jimenez moved into the championship lead with his 15 points for finishing runner-up to teammate Caca Bueno, who sits in third. Bryan Sellers is second, with a six-point deficit to Jimenez.

***Bandar Alesayi held onto the Pro-Am points lead despite retiring. Yaqi Zhang, who scored his second consecutive class win, is 17 points behind the Saudi Arabian driver.

***German automobile club ADAC, the largest of its kind in Europe, has played a major role in every running of the Berlin event. President Dr. August Markl, sports president Hermann Tomczyk, managing director Lars Soutschka and head of motorsport Thomas Voss were all on site. The regional ADAC Berlin Brandenburg is the organising club of the event.

***The second-largest automobile club, AvD (Automobilclub von Deutschland) had its vice-president Gebhard Sanne, also vice-president of the German motorsport federation DMSB, as well as its managing director Lutz Leif Linden, on site. The AvD is the club that holds the rights to the German Formula 1 Grand Prix, having organised the first motorsport competition with that name in 1926 at the Avus Autobahn circuit in Berlin.

***Porsche used the Berlin event to evaluate a new hospitality concept the brand could be using in selected rounds next season when it makes its Formula E debut. It rented a luxury penthouse in the city center as a home base for its corporate guests.

“We call it our ‘Home’ and invite our guests to use it as their home base in the city center, enabling them to explore the various activities and attractions the city has to offer,” said Carlo Wiggers, director of team management and business relations at Porsche Motorsport.

***Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and former DTM champion Hans-Joachim Stuck was among Porsche’s guests this weekend. Next to his role as president of German motorsport federation DMSB, Stuck is also an ambassador for the Volkswagen Group.

***A former teammate of Stuck in the Audi DTM works team in the early 1990s, Hubert Haupt, was also on site to watch the race. Next to his regular business in property development, Haupt is still actively racing in GT3s with Mercedes-AMG 

***Audi board members Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler (vice president technical development) and Wendelin Goebel (employees and organisation) were present in Berlin to watch the second consecutive win for an Audi driver in the German round.

***BMW had board members Klaus Froehlich (development) and Dr. Nicolas Peter (finance) on site, meanwhile.

***Audi GT racer Rahel Frey drove the Audi e-tron vision Gran Turismo to take VIP guests for passenger laps of the Berlin circuit. The car was in action for the first time this season.

***The supervisory board of Volkswagen Group has approved an investment close to €1 billion ($1.12 billion) for a new battery cell production plant, which could be built in Salzgitter in Volkswagen’s home state of Lower Saxony.

***Audi CEO Bram Schot recently told company shareholders at the company’s AGM that the brand will launch 20 all-electric models by 2025 as part of a new vehicle sustainability program.

***A moment of silence was held prior to the start of the race in memory of Niki Lauda, who passed away earlier in the week.

Sam Smith and René de Boer contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is e-racing365's Managing Editor and also European Editor for Sportscar365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations at the University of Birmingham. Contact Jake

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