NEXTEV TCR had a difficult weekend around the Long Beach ePrix street circuit, with both Nelson Piquet Jr and Oliver Turvey failing to score points for the team during the race on Saturday afternoon. Whilst Turvey was able to finish the race in 12th position, Piquet Jr, who took his first victory at the street circuit a year previously, retired on Lap 34 after being struck by a number of different issues throughout the weekend.
“Unfortunately there wasn’t anything more we could do this weekend,” said Piquet Jr. “Obviously we have to keep working for the rest of the season but it’s very challenging.”
Piquet Jr headed out in Qualifying Group 3 and secured 15th on the grid but was handed a penalty for changing the eMotor on his car, which mean that the former champion was demoted to 17th position and then in the race was given a ten second penalty during his pitstop.
After coming back out a position down in 18th, the Brazilian driver then retired on Lap 34 when he brushed the wall and came to a complete stop out on track.
“What we can try to do the rest of the season is work to get the fastest lap like Buemi was doing today, but even that is going to be difficult,” continued Piquet Jr. “I was trying to be more aggressive in the race and go for fastest lap today to get the points but it didn’t work out.”
The weekend went slightly better for Oliver Turvey, as the Brit was able to make up a handful of positions after he qualified at 14th position and came across the line in 12th. He gained positions when Sebastien Buemi and Robin Frijns came together and were forced into the pitlane to change cars, and he continued to gain positions when Antonio Felix da Costa made his way into the pits.
Turvey lost some momentum however when was forced to move wide to avoid any contact with the DS Virgin Racing car of Jean-Eric Vergne.
“It was a frustrating end because even though we struggled a bit in the opening laps, we caught up a bit in the first stint and we went one lap longer than a lot of the guys in front of us so we had more energy in the second stint,” said Turvey. “I felt good in the second car but then the safety car came out just when I was going to attack and try to overtake a couple of cars.
That was a shame as we could have fought for points. Also in the last hairpin Jean-Eric Vergne had a problem and pushed me wide, which caused me to brush the wall. All in all it was a shame not to be able to make the most of the weekend.”
NEXTEV President, Martin Leach said: “…It was clearly another challenging race weekend for us. During qualifying we closed the gap to pole position to down to just over one second, so our approach to continuous improvement is paying dividends.
We lost a motor in FP2 for Nelson, which meant he had to start at the back, and that caused a knock on of a series of things which eventually led to his retirement. It was a shame about Oliver as he was looking good for P11. Towards the end of the race Jean Eric Verne slowed suddenly which resulted in Oliver brushing the wall and he finished P13.”