Aggressive Saturday traffic in Marrakesh – updated

The third round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship was run on the streets of Marrakesh, Morocco.

Sebastien Buemi had put the bad luck from Hong Kong behind him, and he was back in Pole Position, ahead of Championship leader Sam Bird. Felix Rosenqvist, Jose Maria Lopez and Lucas Di Grassi secured five different brands in top 5.

Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Felix da Costa both had crashes in qualifying, so their teams had been busy rebuilding the cars. They were going to start 18th and 19th respectively.

Andre Lotterer was once again unlucky in the qualifying. He was waived to the weigh bridge, but he drove past it and back to the team. That cost him a disqualification, and was to start the race from dead-last – not that his original starting position in P17 was that much better. But anyway, it’s always a bad day when you pay the stewards a visit.

Oliver Turvey and Jerome D’Ambrosio started from the pitlane due to technical problems.

Jean-Eric Vergne
Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E

The start went quite smooth in the front of the field on a minimum of pushing and shoving. That did change on the start of the second, when Daniel Abt and Alex Lynn made a contact. That send Lynn into a big spin, and he had to let the whole pass. The stewards decided to give Abt a Drive-Through penalty, sending the German far away from the points.

Nico Prost had a really bad qualifying session and had started the race from far back in the field. It got even worse for him on the third lap of the race, when he was spun around and rejoined at the back of the field.

Jose Maria Lopez didn’t get an easy comeback to Formula E, when he was first overtaken by Lucas Di Grassi and then Nelson Piquet Jr made room for himself right after. Daniel Abt and Mitch Evans followed through in the same go.

Lucas Di Grassi suddenly slowed in the middle of the track on lap 7. The other competitors only missed the Brazilian by centimetres, who could crawl back to the pits. It was a huge downer for the defending Champion, who has scored zero points so far in the 2017/18 season!

Nick Heidfeld and Oliver Turvey had an intensive battle for 10th, and there was even a few hand signals from Heidfeld towards Turvey.

Edoardo Mortara made a tough move on Luca Filippi in the battle for 16th, sending his Italian countryman into a half spin.

There was plenty of fights around Mortara, where his competitors had their elbows out too.

Maro Engel
Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E

Felix Rosenqvist made it past Sam Bird on the track, when Bird suddenly slowed for a bit. Bird was quickly up to speed again, and didn’t lose further positions. Post race Bird said that there had been an issue on the gearbox of his car, so it didn’t change gears.

Andre Lotterer unfortunately had to park his car with technical issues, so he didn’t get much out of the race this time either. That resulted in a Full Course Yellow to retrieve the car.

All teams used that opportunity to swap cars, so everybody had full charged batteries. Daniel Abt had been in just prior to the FCY period, so he lost some of the positions that he had gained earlier, by almost getting into the points again after his penalty.

Oliver Turvey never made it out of the pits in his new car, since he had technical issues with that one.

Daniel Abt used his Fan-boost to pass Mitch Evans in the fight for 13th.

Antonio Felix da Costa was handed a 5-seconds post race penalty for pushing Andre Lotterer off line earlier in the race, and subsequently resulting in the contact with Nico Prost. Furthermore he was handed two penalty points on his driver license.

With just 4 laps left of the race, Felix Rosenqvist made a fantastic outbraking manoeuvre on Sebastien Buemi, and took the lead of the race.

Edoardo Mortara made an error during breaking with three laps to go, and not only hit teammate Maro Engel, who in a domino effect was sent into Nick Heidfeld. Mortara came off worst with a broken rear suspension on his Venturi car.

Felix Rosenqvist
Photo: Sam Bagnall/LAT/Formula E

There weren’t any further dramas amongst the front runners, so Felix Rosenqvist was able to take home his second Formula E victory of the year, ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Sam Bird.

Nelson Piquet Jr, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jose Maria Lopez, Nick Heidfeld, Tom Blomqvist, Nico Prost and Alex Lynn were the final drivers to make it home in the points.

Maro Engel actually finished inside the points, but he received a time penalty due to the contact with Heidfeld.

Nelson Piquet Jr got an extra point for doing the fastest lap of the race.

Felix Rosenqvist has taken the lead in the Drivers Championship, ahead of Sam Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne in third, while Nelson Piquet Jr is in fourth.

Mahindra Racing still leads the Teams Championship ahead of DS Virgin Racing, while Techeetah keeps Panasonic Jaguar Racing behind in the battle for third.

The next round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be run in Santiago, Chile, when Round 4 of the Championship is run on 3 February.


Update – Nico Prost received a post-race penalty of 20 seconds plus three penalty points, for going too fast under Full Course Yellow in the race. That moves Daniel Abt into P10 and the final points position.

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