MARRAKESH – The Marrakesh ePrix event, the second to be held on the challenging Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan in Marrakesh, witnessed a stellar fight at the front of the field between Sebestian Buemi’s pole position sitting Renault, Sam Bird’s DS Virgin car and Mahindra racing’s very own Felix Rosenqvist, kicking himself for an error on his super-pole qualifying lap which probably cost him the pole.
These three rapidly pulled away from the rest of the pack, where after a strong opening lap, Nick was already fighting on the fringes of the top ten. Biding his time, Felix made his move on Sam Bird just before half distance and he immediately started to apply some real pressure on Buemi’s Renault. An uncharacteristically slow pit-stop saw the Mahindra driver lose some ground to the Swiss leader, but Mahindra’s star reeled his adversary in before pouncing with a well-executed move on the Buemi with just 4 laps to go. Buemi had no reply and Felix brought his car home for a popular and thoroughly deserved win, his second in succession to take the championship lead in his hands for the first time. Meanwhile, Nick emerged from a frantic scrap for the points-paying positions crossing the line in
a superb 8th position (later to be elevated to 7th after a time penalty was applied to Maro Engel of Venturi). Nick’s battered car had been attacked from seemingly every angle by competitors in the heat of the battle, but the car was strong enough and the driver brave enough to complete a great result for the team after a rare mistake in qualifying saw Nick start 18th.
The Mahindra Racing team now heads for South America and the first ever ePrix in Santiago next month with an 18-point cushion over nearest rivals DS Virgin Racing(the first Indian team to ever lead an FIA championship) and Felix will take a 4-point advantage over his pursuers to the capital of Chile in three weeks’ time. Nick Heidfeld is now 7th in the drivers’ championship.
POINTS: 75 | POSITION: 1ST (TEAMS), 1ST & 7TH (DRIVERS)
“I’m happy that our unfinished business from that last season in Marrakesh is now done, we can now close this chapter and move forward. It’s extremely exciting to be on new territory for us, leading both championships! It’s only going to keep motivating the team more and more, and it’s something we need to maintain and be consistent with till the end of the year.”
QUALIFIED: P18 | FINISHED: P7 POINTS: 21 | 7TH IN CHAMPIONSHIP
“It was an eventful race, and was tough driving out there today, my car was quite damaged, due to my qualifying crash. I was able to overtake some cars on the start lap, and later on in the race though I was overtaken, I managed to get my positions back again. I crossed the line 8th, but gained a position due to Maro Engel’s penalty that he received for crashing into me. The aim was to finish strongly and keep the car in one piece while not doing anything risky.”
QUALIFIED: P3 | FINISHED: P1 POINTS: 54 | 1ST IN CHAMPIONSHIP
“It was a day of teamwork, showing that every person in this team has put their best effort in. It was a crazy weekend with pitstop times being reduced, and having to change the battery on my car just before the race. Free practice was a mess, qualifying was a bit of a scare, and nothing was really clear all day until the race itself and right after the pitstop. I started feeling more confident, and slowly being a more established Formula E driver, I’m learning how to manage a race. Being a race about energy, I was able to keep my calm, be efficient, my engineer told me what to look out for, and I was able to get there in the end. It’s great how we turned it around, ended up on the top step, we’re celebrating it, because I honestly didn’t expect it in Free Practice 1 today.”
Mahindra Racing head to South America
The next race takes place on February 3rd, 2018 in Santiago, Chile. The inaugural race in what is often referred to as the world’s Lithium ore capital will host the 4th round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Simulator prep will be crucial and Mahindra Racing are looking for more podiums, wins and of course, the road to victory in Season 4.
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