The 2019 motorsport season will begin in earnest for the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler with the 2019 Marrakesh ePrix playing host to round two of the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship on 12 January, as after a double-points finish in Saudi Arabia, the German outfit will be looking for more of the same this weekend.
Following their championship success at New York City last season, it was a slow start to the championship for Audi Sport at the 2018 Ad Diriyah ePrix, with both Daniel Abt and Lucas Di Grassi having to fight back from difficult qualifying performances to finish eighth and ninth respectively. But at an event the all-electric racing series has been to before, this should provide the German squad with a more level baseline to assess their performance going forward.
“At the first race weekend in Riyadh, we clearly saw how high the level is and how strong the competition is in Formula E. We learned a lot and took a lot of homework with us to Germany,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass.
The rookie test the day after the race will provide another opportunity for Nico Muller to get behind the wheel of the Audi e-tron FE05 who after doing a good job in the post-Riyadh test will be back at it alongside DTM team-mate Jamie Green.
Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler Team Principal Allan McNish stressed the role of the behind-the-scenes work, adding, “everyone back at home has been very busy making sure we improve and optimize all areas to allow us to be back on track. Our goals are unchanged and aim to be fighting for wins and podiums at each race – starting in Marrakesh.”
Lucas Di Grassi’s best result at this circuit was fifth place at the 2016 Marrakesh ePrix, so will be looking for his first podium at the track this year. Ahead of the event, the Brazilian champion said, “The chaotic race day in Riyadh provided us with a really tough start to the season – but that’s history now. We’re traveling to Morocco with self-confidence, optimism and we are fully motivated.”
“Our expectations have been confirmed. The competition in Formula E this season is fiercer than ever before. We’re happy to tackle this challenge and are going to deliver a stronger performance in Marrakesh.”
Daniel Abt hasn’t had a happy time of things in Marrakesh either, but will be looking for better things on his third attempt, with the German saying ahead of the African race, “Marrakesh is a race with a unique character and totally different track characteristics than Riyadh. The cards are being reshuffled.”
“After round one, we had time to concentrate on working on our performance and procedures. I have every confidence in the whole squad that in Marrakesh we’re going to have a different showing than we did at the season opener.”