Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Team Principal Allan McNish says he was pleasantly surprised that Lucas di Grassi was able to win last weekend’s Zurich E-Prix.
McNish initially believed that a podium was the maximum that could be achieved after seeing the pace that both Panasonic Jaguar Racing and Techeetah had in qualifying and in the opening laps of the race.
Di Grassi came through the field in the opening stages of the race, overtaking Jerome d’Ambrosio, Sam Bird, Andre Lotterer and Mitch Evans to grab the lead.
“Qualifying was a little bit disappointing and I honestly didn’t think we had the outright pace to do what Lucas did,” McNish told e-racing365.
“When he got up in fourth and then the speed with which he caught Sam [Bird] then I thought, ‘crikey, this is on’.
“To be leading coming in to the pit stop was mighty but at the stop there was a worry about an unsafe release but Lucas was flawless in the race.
“It was a very accomplished win and so deserving for him after the start to the season.”
McNish thinks that what seemed to be an impossible mission to win the Formula E teams’ title earlier in the season shows the strength of character in the Audi squad.
“We inched up on Techeetah and although they should have enough of a cushion, with these things you never know. We’ve shown a lot of character in coming back from the dark times earlier this season,” he said.
“We saw in Montreal last year that anything can happen when it gets to the last race of the season. Strange things can happen, but all we can do is go there and try to reprise the form we have shown since Mexico.”
McNish joined some of the Audi team in jumping from a hospitality gantry into Lake Zurich to celebrate the success after the race, but revealed to e-racing365 that it was not an easy decision.
“I’m bloody terrified of heights and I don’t like water much too,” he said.
“I made a stupid comment that if Dieter [Gass] did it, then I would. That was a huge error on my part!”