Dominant victory in Marrakesh

ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/20 had made its trip to Marrakesh in Morocco, for the fifth round of the season.

The drama already started in the qualifying, when championship leader Mitch Evans didn’t post a time. The Panasonic Jaguar Racing team made a mistake, so he crossed the line for his flying lap a fraction too late, and therefore not getting a laptime at all. A huge mistake, in an attempt to start the flying lap at the very last moment.

There were troubles at DS Techeetah too, where last years champion Jean-Eric Vergne didn’t do any running in the Friday practice. The Frenchman had a huge headache, so he had to stay back at the hotel. In these times of virus infections, he was of course checked but got an all-clear. He wasn’t really performing well in the qualifying, ending in 11th starting position only.

A driver without any kind of issues was his teammate Antonio Felix da Costa, who did a magic lap in Super Pole, claiming Pole Position ahead of Maximilian Günther in BMW i Andretti, Andre Lotterer in TAG Heuer Porsche and Nyck de Vries in Mercedes-Benz EQ. Edoardo Mortara for ROKiT Venturi Racing in fifth, and Sebastien Buemi in Nissan e.dams completed top 6.

Top three was actually split by less than 0,1 of a second – you don’t get it much closer than that.

Andre Lotterer
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Robin Frijns and Neel Jani lost their qualifying times, since there had been some issues with the throttle input compared to how the drivetrain behaved. This rule is in place to prevent traction control programmes on the cars. They were to start in 22nd and 23rd respectively.

Antonio Felix da Costa made a really good getaway, while Maximilian Günther got the gap closed again during the first lap of the race. Andre Lotterer lost a spot to Nyck de Vries, when he locked the wheels and had to cut straight through one of the chicanes.

Vergne had some very good laps at the start of the racing, quickly gaining three positions.

De Vries was invested for too much regen on the car, which puts the power back into the battery under braking. That gave him a Drive-through penalty and, he lost any chance of a podium position.

Ma Qing Hua was investigated for a jump start, which later was confirmed, handing him a Drive-through penalty as well.

Nico Müller and Oliver Turvey were investigated for some technical infringements on the cars. Both got a Drive-through.

After just 15 minutes of racing, Vergne had made his way into fourth place and was trying to close the five seconds gap to leader Felix da Costa.

Stoffel Vandoorne & Nyck de Vries
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Sam Bird slowly fought his way into top 10 from 14th starting position, and had the next three cars only a few meters ahead of him.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Pascal Wehrlein, Antonio Felix da Costa, Lucas Di Grassi and Jerome D’Ambrosio were the five drivers receiving Fan Boost for his race, which they could use later in the race during overtaking or such.

There was quite a crazy battle around James Calado, who tried to attack but ended up losing two positions to Di Grassi and D’Ambrosio.

Günther took the lead of the race after 20 minutes of running, when he passed Felix da Costa around the outside. Even though he had made it past him, he didn’t really open a gap, since he had to focus on the power usage on the car. With Felix da Costa right in the slipstream of Günther, the latter could actually save a bit of power.

That pushed top for all together once again. With Da Felix da Costa being the first driver to use his second Attack Mode, he could easily go past Günther, who took his opportunity for extra power one lap later.

JEV made it into P3 when he overtook Lotterer.

Mitch Evans
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Bird had lost a few potions, after a lot of tough battle in the midfield. He was back in 13th but still have a remaining Attack Mode.

10 minutes before the chequered flag, we saw Vergne pass BMW driver Günther, so it was a DS Techeetah 1-2.

But Günther didn’t let go and put Vergne under huge pressure, with the Frenchman having to shut the door firmly, to keep the German behind.

Daniel Abt and Felipe Massa had some contact in Turn 5, resulting in Abt getting a warning from the stewards.

Lotterer had some car issues, slowing dropping down the field. After being in top 3 in the early part of the race, he was now fighting to stay within the top ten.

Günther tried overtaking Vergne around the outside, at the start of the final lap. The German had quite a bit more power left, which he utilized two corners from the finishing line, passing the defending champion.

Antonio Felix da Costa & Maximilian Günther
Photo: ABB FIA Formula E

Antonio Felix da Costa took a comfortable victory by over 11 seconds to Maximilian Günther, while Jean-Eric Vergne got home in third – only slightly ahead of Sebastien Buemi.

Mitch Evans came home in an impressive sixth position, after starting from 24 and dead last. He got a bonus point from setting the fastest lap of the drivers inside top 10.

Former championship leader this season, Alexander Sims didn’t even make it to the finishing line, with his car stopping on the very final lap of the race.

Today’s victory elevates Antonio Felix da Costa to the top of the standings, while Mitch Evans has dropped to second. Alexander Sims is now third in the Championship, just two points ahead of teammate Maximilian Günther.

DS Techeetah has jumped into first in the Teams Championship, ahead of BMW i Andretti and Panasonic Jaguar Racing.

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship has a one month break now, since the race in Sanya was cancelled due to the fear of the Coronavirus in China. The next round will be run in Rome on 4 April 2020.

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