Mahindra Racing Takes The Win In Marrakesh E-Prix
Mahindra Racing reigned in Marrakesh once again as Jérôme D’Ambrosio took a stunning win today, after starting from tenth, to mark the second year in a row the Indian team has taken the spoils at the Moroccan track.
Today’s event, the second round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, saw Jérôme, who scored a podium last time out in Saudi Arabia, and Pascal Wehrlein piloting the two M5Electros.
Qualifying groups this year are determined in championship order so, after his third place podium finish in Saudi Arabia last month, Jérôme headed out in Group 1, while Pascal was in Group 4. Jérôme set a fastest lap of 1:18.440 to secure a fifth row starting position from tenth. Pascal narrowly missed out on Super Pole on his Formula E qualifying debut, setting a lap time of 1:18.126 to line up seventh on the grid from the fourth row.
On the first lap, Jérôme deftly avoided a first corner mess to move up from his tenth place starting position to fifth. On lap 14 he passed DS Virgin’s Sam Bird for fourth and two laps later passed Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns to move into a podium finishing third place. The two BMW cars of Antonio Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims collided, allowing Jérôme to race through into the lead. A safety car then bunched up the pack, with green flag racing resuming with just a lap to go. With a field of drivers with everything to play for, Jérôme expertly kept his cool at the front and took the chequered flag as the victor.
Unfortunately, it was a different race altogether for Pascal Wehrlein. After qualifying in a strong seventh position on his Formula E debut, narrowly missing out on Super Pole, he was hit hard from behind by a late-braking Lucas Di Grassi just ten seconds into the race heading into the first corner. His car was damaged and he was forced into retirement.
“This is an amazing way to finish the second race. I’m so happy for the team; everyone has worked so hard and I’m proud to be a part of Mahindra Racing. I’m really happy and it’s great to be leading the championship early on. It’s a good motivational tool for everyone and now we have to keep on working hard. I’m really thankful for everyone to have given me a chance – today feels amazing.”
“It wasn’t the race debut that I wanted, but I’m very happy for the team to score this amazing win. This race and the last one in Saudi shows the team has the capability of great results this season and so that is a good positive to take away. I was happy with my qualifying and felt I could have done a better lap so the pace was there. Unfortunately, at the start of the race one particular driver was a bit over motivated on the first corner. It’s very frustrating but I will now focus on the next race in Santiago and working hard to prepare for that.”
DILBAGH GILL, TEAM PRINCIPAL
“I am absolutely thrilled with the win today. Marrakesh is definitely a special place for us and to win here two years in a row is something that I’m very proud of. The whole team did a fantastic day today and Jérôme drove a mature, brilliant race to give us this win. We had a great strategy and used Attack Mode in some clever places. Jérôme put himself in a very good position to take the advantage when it mattered. I’m very sorry for Pascal. He qualified really well and I’m sure we would have had both cars right up there had he not been hit on the first lap. While we enjoy today, we now turn our attention to Santiago and the objective of having both cars finish well.”
The 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship resumes in two weeks’ time, with the Santiago E-Prix in Chile taking place on 26 January 2019.