By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer
Shortly after scoring what appeared to be his first FIA Formula E victory in the HKT Hong Kong E-Prix, Daniel Abt has been stripped of the win due to an infringement on his Audi powertrain found during steward review. The penalty gives the victory to Felix Rosenqvist, who overcame an early spin to rise back into contention.
Abt, 25, took the checkered flag first on his 25th birthday after rookie Edoardo Mortara spun from the lead with two laps remaining in the event. The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver’s two machines were found to have a mismatch between part numbers in the technical passport and the car, signaling a breach of Formula E rules and forcing a disqualification.
Audi has chosen to appeal the decision, meaning the call will come down to the FIA’s International Tribunal at a later date.
“Daniel (Abt) drove fantastically on both days and absolutely deserves this victory,” Allan McNish, team principal of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, said. “What we are apparently suspected of is a administrative mistake in the car’s passport that didn’t give us any advantage at all. We want the opportunity to be able to clarify all details, that’s why we’ve announced the intent to appeal.”
Rosenqvist is credited with an atypical second Formula E win as a result. The Mahindra Racing driver spun in the opening corner of the event after taking the pole in qualifying, but rose methodically back through the field to position himself to benefit from Audi’s error.
Mortara is credited with second place after his late spin, with Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans rising to third to give the team their first-ever Formula E podium.
Jean-Eric Vergne followed in fourth, with Races One winner Sam Bird rounding out the top five. Completing the points were Oliver Turvey, Maro Engel, Nicolas Prost, Alex Lynn and Sebastien Buemi.
Abt’s disqualification gives HKT Hong Kong E-Prix Race One winner Sam Bird the championship lead with 35 points. Vergne follows with 33 points, with Rosenqvist (29), Mortara (24) and Evans (15) following to complete the top five.
The German Abt dropped down to eighth in the standings due to the disqualification. He now trails Bird by 24 points.
Audi is no stranger to crushing post-race penalties. Defending Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi lost out on other title chances in Season One and Two after he was stopped of victories in Berlin (2014-15) and Mexico City (2015-16).