June 10, 2018 / 6:20 PM / 10 months ago

Motor racing: Di Grassi follows Fangio as a winner in Switzerland

ZURICH (Reuters) - Brazilian Formula E racer Lucas Di Grassi followed in the footsteps of the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio on Sunday by winning the first international motor race in Switzerland for more than 60 years.

Motor Racing - Formula E - Zurich E-Prix - Zurich, Switzerland - June 10, 2018. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler's Lucas Di Grassi celebrates after winning the race with second-placed DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird and third-placed Dragon's Jerome D'Ambrosio during the podium ceremony. REUTERS/Moritz Hager

The outgoing champion in the all-electric series won the inaugural Zurich ePrix for Audi with Britain’s Sam Bird runner-up for DS Virgin Racing and Belgian Jerome d’Ambrosio completing the podium for Dragon Racing.

Overall leader Jean-Eric Vergne, who had qualified 17th for Chinese-owned Techeetah, finished 10th and saw his 40-point advantage over Bird slashed to 23 points with two races remaining in New York on July 14/15.

Bird won both races in New York last year.

“Bring on New York, we’re chasing him,” the Briton said of Vergne.

The 39-lap race was the first held in Switzerland since circuit racing was banned in 1955 following a Le Mans 24 Hours disaster in France that killed at least 83 spectators and injured more than 100.

The ban has been lifted for fully-electric vehicles.

Five Formula One races were held in Switzerland, at the Bremgarten circuit, from 1950-54, with five-times world champion Fangio the winner of the last for Mercedes.

“I’m super-happy, it was a great race,” said Di Grassi of his first win of the season after starting fifth at the lakeside street circuit.

“This victory was just slipping through my fingers in other races so we managed to do it here finally.”

Vergne lost time with a slow car change at the pitstop, dropping him from seventh, and was also hit by a drive-through penalty.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Clare Fallon

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