Never before a polesitter in Marrakesh managed to claim a victory. On Saturday Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah) dominated the qualifying and race and defended the top spot, followed closely by the man who replaced him at BMWi Andretti Motorsport, Maximilian Günther. Da Costa’s teammate Jean-Eric Vergne climbed from P11 up to P3 in one of the strongest races of his life.
Da Costa crossed the finish line 11 seconds ahead of Günther in this weekend’s Formula E race in Marrakech, Morocco. “The win today was down to the team. They gave me an amazing car, and we are working together to improve. The race was actually much harder than it looked. I had to be very brave and clever when making any moves,” said Da Costa after his victory.
Since 2016 the Formula E returns annually to the Moroccan city at the foot of the Atlas mountains. The 3-kilometre course with its 12 corners is the most energy-consuming track of the season. Energy management is everything here.
Championship leader Mitch Evans headed out too late for his qualifying lap, fell short of setting a qualifying time, which resulted in a start from the last position on the grid. After 34 rounds the Kiwi still managed to finish 6th, but imagine what would have been possible for Panasonic Jaguar without that disastrous qualifying.
Like in Santiago a few weeks ago, the storyline of this race was focussed on the battle between Günther and Da Costa. The pair went back and forth. Mid-race, Günther took the lead, before Da Costa reclaimed the number one position while in Attack Mode.
With seven minutes left, Vergne went for Günther moving into second behind his teammate Da Costa. During crunch time, BMW’s Günther and Porsche’s Andre Lotterer fought for the remaining spot on the podium.
“Fighting against both DS Techeetah cars today was intense,” said Günther. “We managed the race quite well, and it got very exciting when JEV overtook me towards the end. We knew we could eventually make a move, as I had an energy advantage over him. But he was defending hard, which was fair play. I think that what JEV did today is impressive. I had more energy compared to him, and this made the difference in the final few corners.”
In the last lap, Günther pulled off an epic manoeuvre to move past Vergne, clinching his second podium this season for BMW. Sebastian Buemi flew a bit under the radar in Marrakesh but managed to finish fourth, securing 12 points for his Nissan e.dams team.
Mercedes experienced a disappointing weekend with no points at all for the second race in a row. Audi’s Lucas Di Grassi and Porsche’s Andre Lotterer at least grabbed a few points for the German powerhouses by coming in on P7 and P8 respectively.
The next E-Prix in Sanya, China, had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus. On 4 April Formula E will resume in Rome, Italy.
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