Brazilian scored the fastest lap of the race, but saw the podium chance escape in the final laps
In a very disputed race In which the victory was decided by a couple of accidents, Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi scored more important championship points, this time in the e-Prix of Morocco, valid for the second of the 13 rounds of the season. Di Grassi also set the fastest lap of the race, earning the extra point and stressing that the Audi e-Tron FE05 improved its competitive condition – although it still needs to be faster to fight for the first victory in 2019.
The Brazilian performance during practice was hampered by technical issues in the two sessions that preceded the qualifying. The Audi team had to repair the car and change the water pump from the cooling system. With few laps on the track and not knowing the real potential of the car in that track, Di Grassi went to the session that defined the grid still exploring what his Formula E was able to do. As a result, he got 11th place – a good position against the conditions faced by the Brazilian.
During the race, Lucas came to fight for a place among the top three. But the late entry and stay of the safety car due to the accident between the leaders in the final laps impaired the race strategy the Brazilian had established and that could give him the 28th career podium in the series. Lucas would go to the closing rounds still entitled to trigger one last time the “attack mode” – a device that gives extra power to the car during four minutes. That could have helped him achieve the goal of finishing among the top three of the day.
“We could have got on the podium,” says the Brazilian. “The strategy with the attack mode and the safety car in the end brought in a lot of trouble. It was a shame but the fun of the race is this unpredictability. Now we have to focus on the Chilean race in Santiago and I believe that if we work hard we will have a chance of a good result. The championship is just beggining and we’re determined to fight back. Now we got to go back to the workshop and do our homework, “Lucas added.
The race – The race disputed in the circuit mounted in the outskirts of Marrakesh began quite agitated. Even before the first corner, the Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah team) attempted to overtake poleman Sam Bird (Virgin) and ended up causing a touch. The Frenchman car spun in front of the field and caused much confusion among the cars behind. Lucas even hit the car that was breaking in front of him but managed to control the situation, deviate and continue in the race – but now in seventh place.
Di Grassi gradually gained positions and went on to duel for third place with Belgian Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Mahindra), who eventually would become the race winner. At the decisive moment, during the final laps, the race was led by Portuguese António Félix da Costa (BMW) with his teammate Alexander Sims (England) in second position. The two of them were dueling for the lead until the 26th of 31 laps when Sims put the car side-by-side to the Portuguese and both braked at a point where there was no more condition to get around the curve of the end of the retinas.
The crash took Felix out of the race and left the way clear for the Belgian D’Ambrosio, who closely followed the leaders and took the lead. With the safety car entering and the organization’s delay in removing Da Costa’s BMW from the track, the race was restarted with just one lap left. And D’Ambrosio defended his position to secure his fourth victory in the series.
The next round of the Formula E World Championship will be held on January 26 in Santiago, Chile.
1 – Jérôme d’Ambrosio – Mahindra Racing
2 – Robin Frijns – Virgin
3 – Sam Bird – Virgin
4 – Alexander Sims – BMW
5 – Jean-Éric Vergne – Techeetah
6 – André Lotterer – Techeetah
7 – Lucas Di Grassi – Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler
8 – Sébastien Buemi – Nissan
9 – Mitch Evans – Jaguar
10 – Daniel Abt – Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler