Already in qualifying on Friday, René Rast showed that he immediately wants to fight for victories in his first full Formula E season: The German qualified for Super Pole that includes the fastest six drivers and secured third place on the grid. In the race, the three-time DTM champion overtook Pascal Wehrlein's Porsche on the outside on lap eleven and then put pressure on leader Nyck de Vries in a Mercedes-Benz. However, two safety cars spoiled his race: In the end, those drivers who had the luckiest hand in using their Attack Modes had an advantage.
"In the end it's unfortunately 'only' a fourth place," said René Rast. "If someone had told me before this weekend that I would finish fourth, I would have signed it, but more was possible from third on the grid. We were faster and had more energy than the leader Nyck de Vries. I think I could have overtaken him, but then the safety cars came out. I could not make use of my two attack modes. I had more energy in the end, but this didn't help me because everyone was going flat out. So, a lot of things went against us today, but we can still be happy with fourth place."
Lucas di Grassi, sixth overall in the previous season, had to qualify in the unfavorable first qualifying group. "As expected, that was a very big disadvantage, because the track was getting faster and faster," said the Brazilian. Third fastest in Group 1, di Grassi had to settle for 16th on the grid. In the race, the 2017 Formula E champion showed one of his famous comeback drives, which moved him forward to ninth place and thus into the points. "It was a pretty strong race and the car feels really good this year," he said.
The Audi e-tron FE07 was again one of the fastest cars on the grid in the second race of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Diriyah (Saudi Arabia). Nevertheless, Saturday's race ended rather disappointingly for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler with the 8th and 17th positions. It was already clear after qualifying that the two Audi drivers, Lucas di Grassi and René Rast, would have no real chance of achieving top results. Di Grassi made a small mistake after two strong first sectors, which cost the Brazilian four tenths of a second. The consequence: 15th place on the grid.
René Rast could not even begin his flying lap, because he got stuck behind two other drivers on his warm-up lap and did not make it over the line in time. "Unfortunately, Oliver Rowland drove so slowly that we just ran out of time at the end," said Rast. "That was very tough, of course." From 19th on the grid, the three-time DTM champion still fought his way into the top ten with a strong race. When the race was stopped early due to a serious accident involving Alex Lynn in a Mahindra, Rast still had considerably more energy available than all of the competitors in front of him. A time penalty imposed after the race eventually dropped Rast back to 17th.
"The most important thing is that Alex and also Edo (Mortara) are doing well under the circumstances after their heavy accidents," said René Rast. "After qualifying, there wasn’t much possible today. But, we are definitely taking the knowledge home that we have a fast car and we can fight for wins this season."
Lucas di Grassi complained of massive oversteer in the race. Nevertheless, the Brazilian scored again by finishing in 8th place. "It was a crazy race," said di Grassi. "But, my result is not of importance, given the mega accident Alex Lynn suffered. It’s good to hear that he seems to be okay."