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HKT Hong Kong E-Prix

by SCMP

2017 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong E-Prix

Lucas di Grassi set to kick off Formula E title defence in Hong Kong

The 33-year-old Brazilian returns to his ‘lucky city’ to begin the defence of his overall championship in the streets of Central next month

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 November, 2017, 7:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 November, 2017, 5:16pm

FIA Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi is set to defend his overall championship when the series kicks off with the Hong Kong e-Prix next month.

The likeable 33-year-old Sao Paulo-born driver wrapped up last season’s drivers’ title in Montreal in July and returns to Hong Kong to begin the defence of his championship for the opening leg of the Formula E series along Central’s Harbourfront from December 2-3.

Brazilian Di Grassi will be in the colours of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler again and he is looking forward to returning to the place he calls his “lucky city” after his brilliant skills caught the attention of race fans last year.

A former Macau Grand Prix winner in 2005, Di Grassi last year worked his way up the grid from second last to finish second behind Hong Kong race winner, Sebastien Buemi, of Switzerland, who also returns to the city hoping for a winning start to the season.

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Buemi is also confirmed for the Hong Kong extravaganza and the Swiss ace will be out to take a second Formula E championship after just missing out on top prize in the season three finale. Overall Formula E champion in the 2015-16 season, the 29-year-old will drive for Renault e.dams again.

Di Grassi became his country’s second champion in the electric series after Nelson Piquet Jnr won the inaugural 2014-15 title.

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Piquet will also return as he switches to the Panasonic Jaguar Racing squad in a bid to return to the top of the points table with Mitch Evans in the sister car.

New drivers who will be racing at the Central Harbourfront track for the first time include Edoardo Mortara – a two-time Macau Grand Prix winner – who joins Maro Engel at Venturi; Neel Jani who will partner Jérôme d’Ambrosio at Dragon; André Lotterer who lines up along Jean-Eric Vergne for Techeetah and Tom Blomqvist who will join Antonio Felix da Costa at Andretti.

Finally, Italian racer Luca Filippi completes the NIO Formula E Team with Oliver Turvey.

Alex Lynn will also make his debut in Hong Kong. The 24-year-old from Ilford in England is stepping up as a full-time driver for the DS Virgin Racing team after a one-off outing last season in New York City.

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Together with Sam Bird, the duo will round out an all-British line-up for the team. Mahindra Racing’s challengers remain unchanged, with 2016-17 top rookie Felix Rosenqvist partnering Nick Heidfeld.

The 2017 Hong Kong e-Prix will launch the fourth season of the FIA Formula E Championship with the first-ever double header race in Asia.