Dramatic Hong Kong e-Prix for DS Techeetah

Dramatic final moments of the race in the Harbour of central Hong Kong saw DS Techeetah driver André Lotterer losing his victory that had seemed to be an absolute cinch. Team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne also suffered from a chaotic e-Prix which saw both drivers finishing P13 and P14 respectively.

DS Techeetah driver Jean-Éric Vergne repeated last year’s performance and qualified his DS E-TENSE FE19 backwards, unfortunately without the pole position at hand this time. By causing a red flag for his spin, the Frenchman got his qualifying lap deleted and therefore started in the back of the grid whilst André Lotterer begun his race from the second row.

Jean-Éric Vergne spins just before crossing the line in qualifying. Photo: Sam Bagnall/ LAT Images, ABB FIA Formula E

With the help of the newly introduced Attack Mode in Season 5, enabling a total of 225kW of power once they passed the activation zone, Lotterer eventually claimed the lead. Having lead 80% of the race and keeping Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) at bay, the drama unfolded in the final moments of the race.

With Bird chasing down race leader Lotterer, an aggressive move from the Brit ended in a contact between the cars, ultimately breaking the German’s rear suspension and puncturing his tyre. After sustaining the damage, Lotterer failed to finish the race, while he witnessed what looked to be a sure victory slip through his hands.

“It was supposed to be a really good day today. On the last lap of the race, I got hit in the back by Sam Bird unfortunately which destroyed my tire and my suspension. It wasn’t really a fair move and we now go home empty handed. It’s pretty sad because even if Sam got a 5 second penalty, it doesn’t change the race for me, I can’t get those points back. The good thing is that I had the fastest lap and we have a good car so now we look to Sanya and keep moving forward”, said Lotterer.

Lotterer’s team commiserate in the garage after their last lap retirement during the Hong Kong E-prix. Photo: Sam Bagnall/ LAT Images, ABB FIA Formula E

Team-mate Vergne went fighting up the grid after being at the centre of two accidents. “Today wasn’t my race, I had another round of bad luck. I feel very sorry for André, the race was his today and we lost a win as a team. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in this race so not there is not much more to say. We’ll put this behind us and move forward together as a team and we’ll bounce back in Sanya”, explained Vergne.

“This is probably the most stressful race we’ve had in a while with André nearly claiming the win and Jean-Éric being at the wrong end of some further aggressive driver tactics. We all feel for André today; the race was his and he deserved that win. Jean-Éric had another race full of misfortunes sadly which were difficult to recover from. It was nice to see André flying in the front showcasing the pace in the car, and in the wet this time so we’ll take that with us as a positive and do everything that we can to have a good race in Sanya in two weeks’ time”, summarised Team Principal Mark Preston.

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