Mahindra Racing collected a
second consecutive podium and scored its first ever pole position for the
inaugural Marrakesh ePrix, the second round of the 2016-17 FIA Formula E Championship.
Swede Felix Rosenqvist, in just his second Formula E race, finished third
during the series’ visit to Africa after leading the race from pole for an
impressive 27 laps. The 2.971km semi-permanent street circuit, the longest in
Formula E history, put pressure on energy management for the entire field.
Meanwhile, reigning Formula E
champion Sebastien Buemi’s perfect start to his title defence continued in
Marrakesh, with victory in the series’ first visit to Africa.
Rosenqvist’s pole lap was the
first ever (in Formula E) for Mahindra Racing and further underlines the team’s
all new season three powertrain development for the M3Electro. The 25-year-old
lies fourth in the Drivers’ Championship on 19 points (coincidently, the same
as his race number).
In the number 23 cars, the
team’s German driver Nick Heidfeld, who claimed a podium in the season opener
in Hong Kong, qualified in 11th position. Some early jostling from the race
start hampered his advancement through the field but he ultimately recovered to
The combined drivers’ results
have elevated Mahindra Racing to joint second in the Teams’ Championship. One
of the final ‘firsts’ for the team, a race win, will have to wait until 2017
when the FIA Formula E Championship continues with the Buenos Aires ePrix on
A five–place post-qualifying
penalty for an underweight fire extinguisher dropped Sebastien Buemi to seventh
on the grid and meant his eighth win in the electric street racing series was
far from straightforward. In front of a
passionate 7000-strong crowd – and with Grammy-nominee Akon among them – it was
the Julius Baer Pole Position winner Felix Rosenqvist, who nailed the start and
sprinted off into the lead.
Having to save energy in the
closing stages, Rosenqvist was unable to keep Sam Bird behind, and the Brit duly collected second
place and a decent haul of 18 points. The DS Virgin Racing driver had a sizeable crash in the second
practice session, and the team did a fantastic job to have the car ready for the race.
Double teams’ champions
Renault e.DAMS heads the standings and its tally was helped by a solid fourth place from Nico Prost.
Fifth place went to Lucas di Grassi after yet another charging drive.
After starting 12th following
a disappointing qualifying session, he pulled off a series of aggressive overtakes to work his way up
the order. His ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
team-mate Daniel Abt followed him home in sixth place for his first points of the season. Oliver
Turvey reckoned that seventh place was the best that the NEXTEV NIO team could have managed, while
Jean-Eric Vergne was clearly unhappy with finishing eighth in a race he looked to have a
chance of winning.
The TECHEETAH driver was
running ahead of Buemi and was closing in on Rosenqvist, when he was given a drive-through penalty
for speeding in the pitlane. This was the result of a broken pitlane speed limiter button, the same
issue which had prevented him from taking part in Super Pole earlier in the day. He was still running fifth
after taking his punishment, but then in the closing stages he suffered complete failure of the
electrics on his steering wheel and dropped to eighth.
Heidfeld bagged a couple of
points for Mahindra in ninth, while DS Virgin Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez scored his first-ever Formula
E point with 10th. The bonus point for the Visa Fastest Lap went to Loic Duval, which was some
compensation for a difficult weekend blighted by technical issues in his Faraday Future Dragon Racing
The series now takes a
mid-season break, before returning with the Buenos Aires ePrix on February 18. However, all the Formula E
drivers will be in action before then at CES in the Vegas eRace on January 7, where they will
take part in a virtual race around a bespoke Las Vegas street track. There’s a million-dollar prize
fund, but they’ll have to beat the 10 sim racing experts who will qualify from the Road to Vegas
Challenge to get their hands on the big prizes.
1. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.DAMS,
2. Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing,
3. Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra
4. Nico Prost, Renault e.DAMS,
5. Lucas di Grassi, ABT
Schaeffler Audi Sport, +13.771s
6. Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler
Audi Sport, +18.233s
7. Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV NIO,
8. Jean-Eric Vergne,
9. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra
10. Jose Maria Lopez, DS
Virgin Racing, +33.863s
11 Robin Frijns, Andretti
Formula E, +37.092s
12. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi
Formula E, +40.683s
13. Jerome D'Ambrosio, Faraday
Future Dragon Racing, +42.034s
14. Adam Carroll, Panasonic
Jaguar Racing, +49.026s
15. Ma Qing Hua, TECHEETAH,
16. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV
17. Mitch Evans, Panasonic
Jaguar Racing, +1 lap
18. Loic Duval, Faraday Future
Dragon Racing, +3 laps
19. Maro Engel, Venturi
Formula E, +7 laps
20. Antonio Felix da Costa,
Andretti Formula E, +12 laps
Sebastien Buemi, Renault
e.DAMS - 50
Lucas di Grassi, ABT
Schaeffler Audi Sport - 28
Nico Prost, Renault e.dams -
Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra
Racing - 19
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing -
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Renault e.DAMS - 47
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport - 36
Mahindra Racing - 36
DS Virgin Racing - 19
Andretti Formula E - 18
NEXTEV NIO - 13
Faraday Future Dragon Racing -
TECHEETAH - 4
Venturi Formula E - 3
Panasonic Jaguar Racing – 0
Formula E / Mahindra Racing (Pictures courtesy Mahindra Racing / FIA Formula E)
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