LON­DON FI­NALE SPARKS INTO LIFE

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: LAT, kart­pix.net

For­mula E ri­vals Lu­cas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi be­lieve luck could play a big part in their ti­tle show­down in Lon­don this week­end.

Just one point sep­a­rates cham­pi­onship leader di Grassi and the chas­ing Buemi head­ing into the dou­ble-header on the 1.8-mile Bat­tersea Park track.

Re­nault e.dams driver Buemi dom­i­nated the open­ing round of the sea­son in Bei­jing and has won twice since, while Abt Audi Sport’s di Grassi has racked up three vic­to­ries as well.

The Brazil­ian’s slen­der ad­van­tage is the re­sult of a 100 per cent on-the-road podium record – though he was ex­cluded for his car be­ing un­der­weight in Mex­ico City af­ter win­ning the race – and di Grassi be­lieves he will have to con­tinue that trend to keep Buemi at bay.

“They [e.dams Re­nault] have the best pow­er­train, but we have done fewer mis­takes this year,” said di Grassi.

“It will be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, we have to have a per­fect week­end – that’s what I’m bet­ting my chips on.

“If it was on out­right pace I think they have the best chance. Be­cause For­mula E is so com­plex, I think we can beat them if you con­sider the whole pack­age.

“Another fac­tor is [if it] rains in the mid­dle of qual­i­fy­ing. It’s im­pos­si­ble to cal­cu­late un­til the mo­ment you see which group [ses­sion] you are in.

“It cre­ates a lot of ran­dom­ness and could de­cide the ti­tle.”

Buemi agreed that the weather could be a fac­tor but, hav­ing lost a break­through Le Mans 24 Hours vic­tory for Toy­ota in the fi­nal five min­utes of the 2016 race, said he knew first-hand that for­tune was a big part of mo­tor­sport.

“The weather is un­pre­dictable and the track is very nar­row so you have no mar­gin for er­ror,” he said.

“If you get into a group of qual­i­fy­ing that has a lot worse weather, to come back is go­ing to be very hard.

“You don’t only need to be quick, you also need to be lucky.

“If I’m in a wet qual­i­fy­ing and he’s in the dry, I’ll be p*ssed off but that’s just luck.

“I was win­ning Le Mans and we lost it on the last lap. That’s mo­tor­sport for you.”

Buemi en­joys a small pow­er­train ad­van­tage with Re­nault’s Z.E.15, but the Swiss driver had a tech­ni­cal fail­ure in Malaysia and strug­gled for pace in Paris where the team was caught out by the short lap and cold tem­per­a­tures and suf­fered tyre warm-up is­sues.

Buemi said he was hop­ing for a sim­i­lar event to the pre­vi­ous race in Ber­lin, where he qual­i­fied sec­ond and took vic­tory, to counter di Grassi’s metro­nomic scor­ing rate so far this sea­son.

“I hope it will be a smooth week­end like Ber­lin,” Buemi said. “It’s July and the track is longer so we shouldn’t have the prob­lem we had in Paris.

“Lu­cas has done a great sea­son, he’s av­er­aged some­thing like 18 points a race – or sec­ond in every event.

“It shows that even if I had done ev­ery­thing per­fectly, it would have been dif­fi­cult to have many more points than he has.” ■

Bat­tersea Park track pro­vided a close cham­pi­onship fi­nale last sea­son Lu­cas di Grassi (l) and Sebastien Buemi (c) will do bat­tle Buemi won last year’s e-prix Di Grassi leads Buemi on track, and in ti­tle chase

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