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Marrakesh E-Prix: d’Ambrosio clinches victory for Mahindra

14th Jan 2019 3:02 pm

D’ambrosio leads the drivers’ standings after winning a dramatic Marrakesh E-Prix that saw both BMW drivers collide while battling it out for the lead.

It’s been a strong start to the 2018-19 Formula E season for Jerome d’Ambrosio; after grabbing the last podium slot at the season opener in Ad Diriyah, the Mahindra Racing driver now leads the drivers’ standings after winning a dramatic Marrakesh E-Prix that saw both the BMW drivers collide while battling it out for the lead.

The start of the race saw Jean-Éric Vergne spin around after making contact with polesitter Sam Bird while trying to pull off an overtake. While Bird managed to hold on to the lead, Vergne had to spend the rest of the race in damage limitation mode as the incident dropped him to the back of the pack. Despite winning the race, it was a bittersweet day for Mahindra Racing as the team’s second driver Pascal Wehrlein retired from his Formula E debut following an opening lap incident with Lucas di Grassi. The first lap also saw Stoffel Vandoorne retire after colliding with his HWA teammate Gary Paffet – the latter retiring soon after due to the damage sustained.

BMW’s Antonio Felix da Costa passed Sam Bird to slot into the lead of the race early on and was swiftly followed by his teammate Alexander Sims. As the BMW duo started pulling away at the front of the pack, d’Ambrosio made swift progress and with 20min to go, was up to 3rd place after passing di Grassi, Bird and Robin Frijns. However, with the drivers closely bunched up, it was far from smooth sailing for d’Ambrosio, as he had to fend off attacks from di Grassi and then later from Frijns.

Just when it seemed like the BMWs had the clear advantage, both drivers locked up and collided as Sims attempted to overtake da Costa on the outside of the approach to Turn 7. Da Costa had to retire from the lead after running into a barrier, but Sims was able to carry on and rejoined the field in 4th place. The incident brought out the safety car, with d’Ambrosio leading the pack and racing was resumed with just one lap to go, making it a shootout to the chequered flag.

Despite locking up at the final corner, d’Ambrosio was able to fend off Frijns to win the race by 0.143sec. With majority of the drivers making use of their final attack mode behind the safety car, Sims was the only one of the frontrunners to have the higher power mode available when racing resumed. However, he was unable to make it past Bird and had to settle for 4th place.

Vergne eventually recovered from his opening lap spin to finish the race in 5th. He was followed by Andre Lotterer, who made his way up from 21st place on the grid. Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi, Mitch Evans and Daniel Abt rounded up the top 10.

Race result

POS

DRIVER

TEAM

CAR

LAPS

GAP

1

Jerome d'Ambrosio

Mahindra

Mahindra

31

46m45.884s

2

Robin Frijns

Virgin

Audi

31

0.143s

3

Sam Bird

Virgin

Audi

31

0.461s

4

Alexander Sims

BMW

BMW

31

0.740s

5

Jean-Éric Vergne

DS Techeetah

DS

31

1.232s

6

Andre Lotterer

DS Techeetah

DS

31

1.457s

7

Lucas di Grassi

Audi

Audi

31

1.633s

8

Sebastien Buemi

e.dams

Nissan

31

2.455s

9

Mitch Evans

Jaguar

Jaguar

31

2.980s

10

Daniel Abt

Audi

Audi

31

4.014s

11

Jose Maria Lopez

Dragon

Penske

31

4.528s

12

Maximilian Gunther

Dragon

Penske

31

6.034s

13

Edoardo Mortara

Venturi

Venturi

31

6.790s

14

Nelson Piquet Jr.

Jaguar

Jaguar

31

6.833s

15

Oliver Rowland

e.dams

Nissan

31

7.529s

16

Oliver Turvey

NIO

NIO

31

9.241s

17

Tom Dillmann

NIO

NIO

31

9.665s

18

Felipe Massa

Venturi

Venturi

31

10.250s

-

Antonio Felix da Costa

BMW

BMW

25

Retirement

-

Gary Paffett

HWA

Venturi

3

Retirement

-

Pascal Wehrlein

Mahindra

Mahindra

1

Retirement

-

Stoffel Vandoorne

HWA

Venturi

1

Retirement

 

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