Daniel Abt has explained the unusual seatbelt issue that forced him into an unscheduled pitstop during Formula E’s Punta del Este E-Prix.

The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver, who won the previous round in Mexico City, was occupying the final podium position at the Uruguayan coastal circuit when his seatbelt became lose after his car swap, forcing him into the pitlane to get his belts fixed, before he ultimately finishing 14th.

“I was completely unbuckled in the car, which I have no clue how it's even possible," he said. “This we have to figure out, but of course in that situation what do you do? You risk your life or you come in - for me it's no choice.

“So I came in, redid the belts, and then we lost too much to gain any points. [It was] a real shame. It was a very good race, I felt very strong, managed to overtake [Oliver] Turvey and then [Alex] Lynn before the pitstop.

“I came in P3, went out P3 - all good, feeling really fast - and then after two laps I realised that my belts basically came loose under braking - all four.”

The incident was investigated but no further action was taken by the stewards after data showed Abt’s shoulder straps were fixed properly following his pitstop. The German has subsequently slipped to seventh in the drivers’ standings after his non-score, 72 points behind championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne.  

Audi team principal Allan McNish reckons the problem cost the team a double podium finish, with Lucas di Grassi taking second place behind Techeetah’s Vergne, following an intense scrap for victory. 

“Daniel’s problem with the belts cost us a double podium and was a huge disappointment for him,” McNish said. “It’s positive that we got both cars to the finish and that Lucas took his first podium of the season after having scored his first points in Mexico. 

“His fight with Jean-Eric Vergne for the lead was incredibly intense and exciting from the first to the last lap. On one occasion I thought now Lucas is through, but Jev drove a strong race as well.”

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