Vic­tory in Mar­rakesh

Late move from Rosen­qvist sees Mahin­dra top the team log in For­mula E

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

MAHIN­DRA leads the team stand­ings in the new For­mula E race for­mat, thanks to a late move from driver Felix Rosen­qvist on Re­nault driver Se­bastien Buemi to clinch his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive win of the sea­son.

Rosen­qvist, who was for­tu­nate to com­plete the dis­tance af­ter a bat­tery change be­tween qual­i­fy­ing and the race, stuck be­hind the slip­stream of the Re­nault e.dams driver and made a lunge up the in­side of Turn 7 to take the lead at Mar­rakesh.

From there, Rosen­qvist didn’t look back and held on for vic­tory at the same venue where he lost out on the win in only his sec­on­de­ver For­mula E race.

It’s the first time Rosen­qvist has stood at the top of the ABB FIA For­mula E Cham­pi­onship stand­ings, four points clear of DS Vir­gin Rac­ing’s Sam Bird who came home in third place.

Buemi, who only man­aged to score a soli­tary point in the open­ing two rounds in Hong Kong, showed a re­turn to form start­ing from the front of the grid from Julius Baer pole po­si­tion. The Swiss cham­pion made a clean get­away and led through the pit­stop phase, but ul­ti­mately lost out to Rosen­qvist.

How­ever, it wasn’t such plain sail­ing for Buemi as his prepa­ra­tions were ham­pered by an is­sue with the wa­ter pump.

The Re­nault e.dams en­gi­neers had to in­vert the or­der of his cars to en­sure they could fix the prob­lem and get him out in time.

It was a sim­i­lar story for Bird, who re­mained be­hind the rear wing of Buemi in the open­ing laps, but gave up the po­si­tion to Rosen­qvist af­ter a re­cur­ring tech­ni­cal is­sue caused him to slow down.

De­spite re­lin­quish­ing the place, Bird took the che­quered flag in third place to con­tinue his strong start to the sea­son.

An­other name car­ry­ing over form from Hong Kong was sea­son one cham­pion Nel­son Pi­quet Jr, who equalled his best-placed fin­ish of the cur­rent cam­paign in fourth for Pana­sonic Jaguar Rac­ing and scored the ex­tra point for Visa fastest lap. The Brazil­ian gained a place in the manda­tory car swap, com­ing out ahead of José Maria Lopez mak­ing his For­mula E re­turn with the DRAGON out­fit.

Lopez — who’s fa­mil­iar with the Mar­rakesh sur­round­ings hav­ing raced here in other cat­e­gories — put on an im­pres­sive per­for­mance from the sec­ond row of the grid to col­lect eight points in sixth-place be­hind Jean-Eric Vergne for Techee­tah.

Rosen­qvist’s team-mate Nick Hei­d­feld scythed his way through the pack to fin­ish sev­enth af­ter hit­ting the wall dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing. For­mula E debu­tant Tom Blomqvist claimed points in his first-ever race for An­dretti in eighth.

It wasn’t a day to re­mem­ber for Nico Prost.

The French­man and three­time E-Prix win­ner was pitched into a spin by An­dre Lot­terer send­ing him to the back of the field, and later picked up a 20sec­ond post-race penalty for speed­ing un­der Full Course Yel­low — leav­ing Alex Lynn and Daniel Abt to round out the top10 po­si­tions. — WR. Driver stand­ings Felix Rosen­qvist ......................... 54 Sam Bird ........................................ 50 Jean-Eric Vergne .......................... 43 Nel­son Pi­quet Jr ........................ 25 Edoardo Mor­tara .......................... 24 Team stand­ings Mahin­dra Rac­ing .......................... 75 DS Vir­gin Rac­ing .......................... 58 TECHEE­TAH ................................... 43 Pana­sonic Jaguar Rac­ing ......... 40 Ven­turi For­mula E Team ......... 30

PHOTO: MAHIN­DRA

One of the high-per­fo­mance, all-elec­tric race cars run by Mahin­dra in For­mula E rac­ing.

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