Rosenqvist wins tight race in Marrakesh

Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist wins the Marrakesh ePrix ahead of a rejuvenated Renault e.Dams Sebastian Buemi and DS Virgin’s Sam Bird as reliability once again hits Season 3 champion Lucas di Grassi.

13/01/17

The big news heading into the weekend was that Neel Jani had left Dragon Racing just after one race weekend. Taking his place alongside Jerome D’Ambrosio would be Jose-Maria Lopez, who competed in Season 3 with DS Virgin Racing.

Tom Blomqvist makes his series debut with Andretti after Kamui Kobayashi stepped in last time out.

Earlier in the week, it was also revealed that Formula E would drop the minimum pit-stop time with immediate effect heading into Marrakesh. Although, it was successfully overruled after many teams lobbied to have it changed back to the original for this weekend.

Qualifying Result

  1. Buemi  2.Bird  3.Rosenqvist  4.Lopez  Di Grassi  6.Lynn  7.Piquet  8.Abt  9.Evans 10.Turvey  11.Filippi  12.Blomqvist  13.Vergne  14.Engel  15.Prost  16.D’Ambrosio  17.Heidfeld  18.Da Costa  19.Mortara  20.Lotterer

Race

There is a couple of drivers missing from the starting grid. Jerome D’Ambrosio and Oliver Turvey will start from the pit-lane. They were due to start on the grid in positions 10th and 16th. The lights go out and it’s a clean start by everyone with Sebastian Buemi leading from pole position ahead of Sam Bird and Felix Rosenqvist.

It’s been a pretty clean first lap until down into turn 1 on lap 2, Alex Lynn spins off. The Brit recovers but has dropped down to 19th. Contact was made with Daniel Abt. Abt tried to go down the inside of Lynn into turn 1 but contact was made. Lap 3, Lucas di Grassi overtakes returning Jose-Maria Lopez for 4th down into turn 7. Lopez is then overtaken by Nelson Piquet. Behind, Nico Prost is spun round by Andre Lotterer. Prost continues on without major damage.

Lap 7, unbelievable scenes. Di Grassi is slowing and is crawling, trying to make it back to the pits. The Brazilian gets back to the pits but his race is over as he becomes the first retiree. There’s more bad luck for Audi, Abt has received a drive-through penalty as he is blamed for the turn 1 incident with Lynn. It’s revealed that Buemi, Abt and Di Grassi are the winners of Fanboost.

Lap 11, the top 3 are covered by just 3 seconds. Lap 12, Abt takes his drive-through penalty. Lap 15, Hong Kong star, Edoardo Mortara makes is way up the field after he overtakes Lynn into turn 1 and then Tom Blomqvist into turn 4. Lap 16, Rosenqvist is showing in 2nd with Bird 3rd. The replay shows Bird slowed just before turn 1 with Rosenqvist taking advantage. A gearbox issue could have slowed Bird down.

Lotterer’s day has come to an end. He has stopped on the track and a full-course yellow has been. Buemi, Rosenqvist, Bird and others stay on the track for another lap but Mitch Evans, Da Costa and Abt pitted a lap before it came out. Everyone piles into the pits on lap 18 to change over into their second car.

Buemi emerges out back into the lead with the gap to Rosenqvist increased to 1.6 seconds. By stopping a lap early, Evans has lost out big time from running in the top 8 to now outside the points in 14th. Lap 25, Rosenqvist has cut Buemi’s lead down to under a second but Bird in 3rd, has drifted to 2.5 seconds behind the leading two.

Lap 29, Rosenqvist is now within striking distance of Buemi with the Swede overtaking Buemi, for the lead, down the inside of turn 7. A great move and the Swede has the pace to build a small gap.

Lap 31, Mortara and Heidfeld look to have sustained damage. Both were running very closely and were inside the points. The replay shows that Maro Engel, Mortara’s team-mate, was trying to overtake Heidfeld into turn 10 when Mortara tried to overtake Engel. Heidfeld was half-spun but continued on but the same couldn’t be said for Mortara. Lap 33, Rosenqvist crosses the line to win ahead of Buemi and Bird.

Race Result

  1. Rosenqvist  2.Buemi  3.Bird  4.Piquet  5.Vergne  6.Lopez  7.Heidfeld  8.Blomqvist  9.Lynn  10.Abt  11.Evans  12.Engel*  14.Prost*  14.Da Costa  15.D’Ambrosio  16.Filippi  17.Mortara  DNF Turvey, Lotterer & Di Grassi

Engel* was classified 7th but was given a time equivalent of a drive-through penalty post-race for causing a collision and dropped to 13th.

Prost* was given a post-race time penalty which dropped him from 10th to 13th.

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