Jerome d’Ambrosio took a remarkable and unlikely victory in the Marrakesh ePrix after BMW i Andretti Motorsport threw away what seemed like an easy one-two finish.
The Mahindra Racing driver drove superbly to work his way through the top order and put himself in prime position to benefit from BMW’s mistake.
It was his first win in the series for nearly three years and took him to the top of the driver’s standings, with the Belgian screaming with joy as he passed the finish line before doing a series of burnouts and doughnuts on the cool down lap.
Afterwards he said, “Well it’s amazing. You guys know I’ve been here from the start, I’ve been fighting to be in this position and I just thankful to the team.
“The last year has been tough, we had some tough moments, but with the support of all these people and with Dilbagh [Gill, Team Principal] giving me a ride this year, I’m happy.”
Both Antonio Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims seemed like they were cruising to a dominant victory in only BMW’s second race when the two collided in the closing laps.
Sims having seemingly sat obediently behind his team-mate for most of the race seemed to have settled for second place.
But with the chasing pack of d’Ambrosio, Robin Frijns and Sam Bird closing, the Brit chose to try and overtake da Costa around the outside into turn seven, with both drivers locking up.
Sims was able to duck under his team-mate to re-join in fourth, but da Costa ended up in the wall and out of the race.
His stricken car brought out a safety car which meant there was a frantic final lap shootout with drivers who had a final energy boost activation having a huge advantage over the others.
Many activated it too early however meaning that it had run out by the time the final lap started, and as such the top order changed little.
It meant that d’Ambrosio won by the smallest of margins from Frijns, Bird and Sims behind him.
Jean-Eric Vergne staged a remarkable comeback to get fifth place, having spun out on the first lap when he attempted an overly-ambitious move on pole-sitter Bird into turn one.
His DS Techeetah team-mate Andre Lotterer had a similar charge through the field to finish sixth having started in twentieth, and Lucas di Grassi dropped to seventh having threatened the podium positions early on.
Sebastien Buemi and Mitch Evans lost out at the start thanks to getting caught on the wrong side of Lotterer’s stricken car at the first corner, and had to fight their way back into the points to finish eighth and ninth, just ahead of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler of Daniel Abt.
Further down the field it was a dreadful day for HWA Racelab with both cars colliding early on and then forced to retire, with Gary Paffett spinning after a right left puncture.
It was disappointment as well for debutante Pascal Wehrlein who retired early on after an encouraging qualifying earlier in the day.
The German chose to take his anger out on part of the Mahindra pit garage, before then watching his team-mate take an astounding victory.