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Lucas di Grassi elated with maiden Paris ePrix victory

France Paris  Eprix Auto Racing

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver, Lucas di Grassi of Brazil celebrates his victory after the Formula E Paris ePrix auto race at the Invalides in Paris, France, Saturday, April 23, 2016. ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver Lucas di Grassi of Brazil won the race ahead of DS Virginia Racing driver Jean-Eric Vergne of France and Renault e.dms driver Sebastian Buemi of Switzerland. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)


PARIS - Formula E championship leader Lucas di Grassi made no secret of his elation after winning the inaugural Paris ePrix on Saturday.

Formula E made its first visit to Paris this weekend and was graced with a warm welcome by the locals in the French capital who packed out the grandstands and the e-village.

All of the drivers were delighted to be racing in Paris over the weekend, but it was di Grassi who became the first winner of the Paris ePrix thanks to a peerless display.

The Brazilian seized the lead from pole-man Sam Bird off the line and didn’t look back, leading all but two laps en route to his third victory of the year.

“It was the best start I’ve had so far,” di Grassi said. “It was very cold, it makes a huge difference. It took longer to spin the tires and make them hot. I think I managed to have a very good start compared to Sam, he had a lot of wheelspin. I just managed to stay on the inside. Also JEV [Vergne] had a very good start.

“From then onwards, the gap was not increasing. I was pushing really, really hard but the gap was something around two seconds. It increased by the end of the first stint for the pit stop.”

Di Grassi spoke warmly about the event in Paris, expressing his pride after winning the race.

“To be racing here in Paris is just amazing. I think the job Formula E has done to put together the event, such a nice event, such a nice show in the middle of Paris which is one of the top cities in the world just shows promoting this innovative electric technology.

“You see people all around the track cheering. it’s just amazing what was done here today. This is what Formula E is about.

“I’m realizing every time more now how important it is being the first ever race in the centre of Paris. The track was very difficult and conditions were difficult. I had to take risks at the start. Everything went well and I’m really happy to have won.”

However, di Grassi isn’t getting carried away about the title race just yet despite having only four more races to defend his lead.

“I really thought the championship was definitely compromised in Mexico, but this 11 point lead means nothing,” di Grassi said.

“One bad weekend could make it worse. We have 120 points available still. We have to keep working, keep going race by race, try to score as many as possible.”

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