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D'Ambrosia wins in Morocco over Robert Frijns

With easy win in sights, Andretti teammates self destruct
Saturday, January 12, 2019

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Jerome D'Ambrosio gets lucky and wins
Jerome D'Ambrosio gets lucky and wins

Italian Jerome D'Ambrosio, who is now a Belgium citizen, held off Robin Frijns to win the 2nd round of the Formula E season in Marrakesh, Morocco. However, that was after the two Andretti BMW drivers of Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims made contact battling for the lead while running 1-2 and comfortably ahead of third place D'Ambrosio.

The contact put leader da Costa out of the race and Sims dropped back to 4th.

Following one of the most manic races in Formula E history, it was Mahindra Racing's Jerome d'Ambrosio who clinched his first chequered flag in his five year Formula E career. Following close behind in second and third was Envision Virgin Racing's Robin Frijins and Sam Bird, who battled through the chaos to keep their place on the podium.

Seconds after the lights turned green, second place starter Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah) spun on Turn 1 after trying to take leader Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing) on the inside. Spinning, Vergne slipped down to 19th place. Frustrated, the reigning champion spun around and fought on, determined to reclaim lost ground. Nissan e.dams' Sebastien Buemi also suffered after swerving to avoid Vergne.

Just seven minutes into the race, HWA Racelab's Gary Paffet damaged his car hitting his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, sending both drivers out of the race. At the same time, Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein pulled into the pits reporting technical issues. All three drivers race was ended after less than 10 minutes of action.

Geox Dragon's Maximilian Guenther was the first to use ATTACK MODE, picking it up on the outside of Turn 3. ATTACK MODE can be engaged a total of twice during the Marrakesh race, with each use lasting four minutes.

Back at the front, Bird continued to lead the way with BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Antonio Felix da Costa hunting him down in second. His teammate, Alex Sims behind in third separated Envision Virgin Racing's Robin Frijns from his teammate.

That's Michael Andretti after his drivers took each other out
That's Michael Andretti after his drivers took each other out of a sure 1-2 finish

Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler's Daniel Abt picked up ATTACK MODE and in ninth place and boosted himself up to eighth ahead of NIO Formula E's Oliver Turvey.

On Turn 4, Bird's defence wasn't enough to keep the BMW's at bay and da Costa took the lead with Sims passing Bird to take second. Bird held third while his teammate Frijns remained in fourth, defending from the advances of Mahindra Racing's d'Ambrosio and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) in sixth. Pascal Werhline, Sebastien Buemi, da Costa and Vandoorne all received FANBOOST.

Di Grassi made a dive for the ATTACK MODE Activation Zone, picking up the power boost while retaining sixth place. Engaging the power, di Grassi blasted past Sam Bird to take fifth, sending Bird down to sixth. After an unfortunate start, Sebastien Buemi kept climbing through the middle of the pack making it to ninth with 20 minutes left of the race. Similarly, Vergne - after plummeting down to 19th - had climbed up to eighth with his teammate Andre Lotterer close behind him in ninth.

Making use of ATTACK MODE, di Grassi had climbed up from sixth to fourth place before the extra 25kW of power ran out, looking to make a move on d'Ambrosio in third with 16 minutes of the race left.

With Frijns and d'Ambrosio locked in a fierce battle for third, the BMW's were out in front. Engaging ATTACK MODE, Frijns and d'Ambrossio closed the gap before Sims took out his teammate coming into Turn 7 in a disastrous bid for the lead, leaving da Costa devastated and in the wall.

Stranded on track, Sims paid the price for the move and dropped to fourth, giving way to Bird in third, Frijns in second and d'Ambrosio in the lead. With the Saftey Car deployed, the field regrouped with minutes remaining. With one lap remaining and no Saftey, Car Frijns climbed up to second - the pack nose to tail. D'Ambrosio, defending his lead, crossed the line in first, screaming down the radio, ecstatic with the first time he's taken the chequered flag in his Formula E career.

Quotes

MAHINDRA RACING
JEROME D'AMBROSIO

"The race was really hard-fought and incredibly intense. At least that’s what it felt like from inside the cockpit. I knew I could achieve a top-five result as the race pace was amazing in Ad Diriyah and here also. A couple of things played-out to our advantage and winning this race means a lot for the team and the hard work over the past few weeks. We'll enjoy tonight, but tomorrow we get back to work."

ENVISION VIRGIN RACING
ROBIN FRIJNS

"It was an exciting race, but the start was a bit of a mess. The only thing I saw was smoke and I didn’t see any cars. It was really a great day for the team - ending-up in second and getting two cars on the podium. Being in this position for the first time with the team, I thought the points were more valuable than risking everything with Jerome."

ENVISION VIRGIN RACING
SAM BIRD

"After getting hit from behind, I felt like I was nursing the car and had a bit of an issue. I didn’t feel very competitive in a straight line today, but that’s how it goes. We collectively got an amazing result for the team and we show paced in qualifying, which is promising. As one of the only customer teams, what we’re doing is really impressive. Without any testing, I wonder how competitive we’ll be in a few races time."

Results

POSDRIVERTEAMCARLAPSBEHIND
1Jerome d'AmbrosioMahindraMahindra310.000s
2Robin FrijnsVirginAudi310.143s
3Sam BirdVirginAudi310.461s
4Alexander SimsAndrettiBMW310.740s
5Jean-Eric VergneDS TecheetahDS311.232s
6Andre LottererDS TecheetahDS311.457s
7Lucas di GrassiAudiAudi311.633s
8Sebastien Buemie.damsNissan312.455s
9Mitch EvansJaguarJaguar312.980s
10Daniel AbtAudiAudi314.014s
11Jose Maria LopezDragonPenske314.528s
12Maximilian GuntherDragonPenske316.034s
13Edoardo MortaraVenturiVenturi316.790s
14Nelson Piquet Jr.JaguarJaguar316.833s
15Oliver Rowlande.damsNissan317.529s
16Oliver TurveyNIONIO319.241s
17Tom DillmannNIONIO319.665s
18Felipe MassaVenturiVenturi3110.250s
DNFAntonio Felix da CostaAndrettiBMW25DNF
DNFGary PaffettHWAVenturi3DNF
DNFPascal WehrleinMahindraMahindra1DNF
DNFStoffel VandoorneHWAVenturi1DNF

 

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