Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler slingshot into the second half of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with a stunning one-two in the CBMM Niobium Puebla E-Prix Round 8 - swatting an up-and-down start to Season 7.
Lucas di Grassi had said a podium was up for grabs from his starting berth of eighth, with plenty of unknowns for those ahead to contend with on a bumpy, abrasive and all-new circuit to the series in the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed. Rene Rast started 10th, and both managed to coolly clamber through the front-running pack.
Porsche's penalty meant the Audis were promoted to a one-two after bettering the BMWs and Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing). Di Grassi led the duo home at his 'second home' - the Brazilian feeling a connection to the ultra-passionate Mexican fans, and now a three-time Formula E winner in the country.
"I feel very sorry for Pascal (Wehrlein)," said di Grassi. "He drove a fantastic race, and something like that happened to me back in Rome when the driveshaft jumped out of place while I was leading the race. I know exactly how he must feel.
"We got some bad luck back then but today luck was on our side. Things like that always balance out in motorsport. The team did a fantastic job today. I lost some time battling with people but I was always able to put pressure on.
"Maybe we can repeat our performance from Season 4 where we had a similar first half of the season and then managed to collect a lot of points."
Second spot catapulted Rast into title contention as Formula E's first campaign as an FIA World Championship crossed its half-way stage. The German matched his best Formula E result to-date and now sits just four points shy of standings leader Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing), whose non-score after contact with fellow title protagonist Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) and a resultant penalty proved costly.
"We knew Wehrlein was under investigation, and we assumed we might have done enough to win," said Rast. "The one-two is exactly what Audi Sport needed for the championship.
"We're still lacking a bit of speed in qualifying but if we make it into the top 10, we're sure we can win races. We've always known we can, but we've not yet been able to show it. After all the bad luck we've had, this was a relief."
McNish: 'This has been brewing for a long time'
"It was a fantastic day that's been brewing for a long time," says Audi's Team Principal Allan McNish. "We've worked hard, through the tough days and we've made it back to the top step of the podium.
"From race one this season, it was clear we had a competitive car but the competition's strong in Formula E. It's a matter of putting all the pieces together which is very difficult at this level. Everyone in Puebla and in Neuburg an der Donau delivered today."