Mahindra Racing who are no strangers for success in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, ended a run of ten races without a race victory, as Jerome D’Ambrosio took to the stop step in the 2019 Marrakesh E-Prix.
This is the team’s fourth E-Prix win in Formula E history after Felix Rosenqvist claimed the other three in Berlin, Hong Kong and more recently Marrakesh in January 2018.
Rosenqvist‘s replacement Pascal Wehrlein made his debut in the series and qualified a brilliant seventh position, out-qualifying D’Ambrosio who lined up tenth.
On the first lap, D’Ambrosio avoided a first corner mess to move up from tenth on the grid to fifth. On lap 14, he passed Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird for fourth and two laps later passed Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns to move into third position. The two BMW cars of Antonio Felix Da Costa and Alexander Sims collided a few laps from home, allowing D’Ambrosio to race through into the lead.
A safety car then bunched up the pack, with green flag racing resuming with just a lap to go. With a field of drivers with everything to play for, the Belgian driver managed the pace at the front and took the chequered flag as the winner.
Unfortunately, it was a different race altogether for Pascal Wehrlein. After qualifying in a strong seventh position on his Formula E debut, narrowly missing out on Super Pole, he was hit hard from behind by a late-braking Lucas Di Grassi just ten seconds into the race heading into the first corner. His car was damaged and he was forced into retirement.
Team Principal Dilbagh Gill was “thrilled” with the performance from D’Ambrosio despite starting in the midfield.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the win today. Marrakesh is definitely a special place for us and to win here two years in a row is something that I’m very proud of”, Gill added.
“The whole team did a fantastic day today and Jérôme drove a mature, brilliant race to give us this win. We had a great strategy and used Attack Mode in some clever places. Jérôme put himself in a very good position to take the advantage when it mattered.
“I’m very sorry for Pascal. He qualified really well and I’m sure we would have had both cars right up there had he not been hit on the first lap. While we enjoy today, we now turn our attention to Santiago and the objective of having both cars finish well.”
D’Ambrosio says that it is “great” to be leading the championship after the first two rounds.
“This is an amazing way to finish the second race. I’m so happy for the team; everyone has worked so hard and I’m proud to be a part of Mahindra Racing.
“I’m really happy and it’s great to be leading the championship early on. It’s a good motivational tool for everyone and now we have to keep on working hard. I’m really thankful for everyone to have given me a chance – today feels amazing.”
In contrast, Wehrlein says it’s “frustrating” to have ended his first race for Mahindra Racing early on.
“It wasn’t the race debut that I wanted, but I’m very happy for the team to score this amazing win. This race and the last one in Saudi shows the team has the capability of great results this season and so that is a good positive to take away.
“I was happy with my qualifying and felt I could have done a better lap so the pace was there. Unfortunately, at the start of the race one particular driver was a bit over motivated on the first corner.
“It’s very frustrating but I will now focus on the next race in Santiago and working hard to prepare for that.”