It’s the first race of the new year, but the third of the season as the teams head to Marrakesh in Morocco. More than a month after the first two races in Honk Kong, the electric racecars take to the track with the sport gaining a title sponsor, changing its name to ABB FIA Formula E now.
The 2017-18 season sees the undefeated Renault e.dams team struggle for wins while Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler has had even worse luck. Meanwhile, Mahindra Racing are carrying the momentum from last year with youngster Rosenqvist leading the charge, Jaguar Racing are beginning to score points regularly too with Venturi, Techeetah and DS Virgin Racing doing well too.
Practice was eventful with plenty of slides and wall bangs, but Rosenqvist managed to secure pole position in qualifying, followed by Di Grassi, Lopez, Buemi, Sam Bird and A. Lynn filling the first three rows in that order. However, Buemi got his Renault on pole after the super pole session while the rest of the order got changed to Bird qualifying second fastest followed by Rosenqvist, Lopez and Di Grassi.
It was a smokey start with the leaders locking up into the first corner but Buemi managed to hold onto P1 while Di Grassi and Piquet Jr. banged wheels a few corners later. First corner of the second lap, Daniel Abt bumped into Lynn sending the Brit into a spin and really far down the order. A few laps later it was Prost who went for a spin after the Techeetah of Andre Lotterer made contact with the Renault car. After a spirited fight for track position with Nelson Piquet, Lucas Di Grassi suffered a mechanical failure in the eighth lap. Nick Heidfeld had a bumpy race, first getting shunted by Da Costa in the first half of the race and then got caught up and spun around in a scramble with both Venturi drivers Mortara and Engel on Lap 31.
Mortara was already having a scrappy weekend at Marrakesh but this late manouvre saw him drive into his teammate Engel who then got pushed into Heidfeld sending the Mahindra into a 180 degree spin. All three suffered damage on their cars but Mortara sustained the most and limped across the line in last place.
Rosenqvist got past Buemi down the inside on Lap 29 to take the lead and win the race while Sam Bird clinched the final spot on the podium. This is the Swede’s second consecutive win this season which puts him at the top of the driver’s standings. That combined with Heidfeld’s efforts puts Team Mahindra at the top of the team standings as well with DS Virgin not too far behind. Nelson Piquet Jr. managed to clock the fastest lap with getting him and team Jaguar an extra point.
The Formula E action will resume on the first weekend of February where the sport debuts in Chile, racing through the streets of Santiago. Stay tuned for further updates and don’t forget to subscribe!
Full race result:
- F. Rosenqvist Mahinda Racing – 31:24.484
- S. Buemi Renault E.DAMS +0.945
- S. Bird DS Virgin Racing +5.762
- N. Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing +6.554
- J. Vergne Techeetah +12.238
- J. Lopez Dragon Racing +16.491
- N. Heidfeld Mahindra Racing +28.381
- T. Blomqvist MS&AD Andretti Formula E +32.380
- A. Lynn DS Virgin Racing +33.520
- D. Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +40.951
- M. Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing +46.278
- M. Engel Venturi Formula E Team +46.915
- N. Prost Renault E.DAMS +53.099
- A. Da Costa MS&AD Andretti Formula E +1:01.116
- J. D’Ambrosio Dragon Racing +1:13.805
- L. Filippi Nio Formula E Team +1 lap
- E. Mortara Venturi Formula E Team +3 laps
- O. Turvey Nio Formula E Team DNF
- A. Lotterer Techeetah DNF
- L. Di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler DNF