'Funny story': Sacked driver's flimsy excuse in cheating 'disgrace'

Daniel Abt said he never expected the backlash he's received over the e-sports cheating saga. Pic: Youtube/Getty

German driver Daniel Abt has attempted to explain his e-sports cheating controversy after confirming that he has been sacked by his Audi team.

Abt was disqualified from a virtual FormulaE race on Sunday after admitting that he used a professional gamer to take his place at the console.

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He was also ordered to make a "compulsory donation" of 10,000 euros to charity and stripped of his third place finish.

Pro esports gamer Lorenz Hoerzing, 18, had replaced Abt in the 'sim' for the race around Berlin-Tempelhof.

The 27-year-old Abt raised suspicions because his video camera was switched off during an interview.

The face of the driver was also obscured by an object at another stage.

"I'd like to apologise to Formula E, all the fans, my team and my driver colleagues for calling in outside help during Saturday's race," the German said in a statement on Sunday.

"I didn't take it as seriously as I should have. I'm aware that my offence has left a bitter after taste, but it was never meant in bad faith."

Abt was widely condemned over the controversy, with many motorsport fans branding his actions “disgraceful”.

The German has now released a video to try and explain his actions, insisting that it was an ill-conceived joke that he always planned on making public.

"When we were practicing for this Race at Home Challenge on a Twitch stream... we had a conversation and the idea came up that it would be a funny move if a sim racer basically drove for me to show the other, real drivers what he is capable of and uses the chance to drive against them," Abt said in the 15-minute video uploaded to his Youtube channel.

"We wanted to document it and create a funny story for the fans with it."

Driver never anticipated backlash from stunt

"It is also very important to me to say that it was never my intention to let another driver drive for me to get a result and keep quiet about it later on just to make me look better," Abt said.

"When I drove this race on Saturday, the other drivers reacted to it of course and realised that there was something odd. I was aware of that.

"It had never been my will or idea to keep this secret from them. We even texted in WhatsApp groups and I gave some hints."

Abt apologised to his family, friends, colleagues and team - confirming that he will not race for Audi again.

He said he never expected the extent of the fallout from the cheating controversy.

"Shortly after the race, I realised myself that it did not end there and it suddenly went in a direction which I had not ever been able to even imagine in my dreams that this would happen," he continued.

"I can understand that we went too far with this idea. We made a huge mistake there.

"I stand by this mistake. I accept it and I will carry all the consequences for what I have done.

with agencies