HWA RACELAB‘s weekend in the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix provided them an attrition of surprise.
The team arrived at the Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit as the only team in the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship yet to score a point.
That run was ended when Stoffel Vandoorne stunned the paddock by not only finishing fastest in the first part of qualifying but concluded Super Pole quickest as well in the wet. He and HWA earned their first points with pole position, along with the Julius Baer Pole Position award.
The Belgian would later on Sunday lose the lead at the start to Oliver Rowland before retiring after twenty laps with driveshaft failure. Vandoorne however says the team “can be proud” of the expectations being exceeded.
“That was a very frustrating end to the weekend. I had an issue with the car, which unfortunately brought my race to a premature end,” Vandoorne said.
“I secured pole position in qualifying, which was the first for the team and my first pole in Formula E. That is something we can be proud of.
“We have once again taken big steps forward. We could do nothing about the issues in the race, which is a real shame.
“We can look ahead to the next race with our heads held high. We have shown what we are capable of.”
Team-mate Gary Paffett had every reason to be smiling about as well. The Brit had also made it into Super Pole and qualified fifth before moving up one place on the grid after Edoardo Mortara‘s grid penalty.
Paffett kept out of the trouble throughout the race and crossed the line in a respectable eighth position and more importantly his first points in Formula E.
“P8 is a bit disappointing after starting from fourth. Our cars were not as strong on a dry track,” Paffett added.
“We were not able to gain any experience in the dry here, which made it a tough race. However, we made it to the finish, I scored my first points in Formula E, and the team also picked up its first points.
“That is definitely a step forwards, even if we were hoping for more after qualifying. As such, I am generally very happy with this weekend.”
A total of seven points has lifted the German team off the foot of the teams’ standings into ninth. Team Principal Ulrich Fritz had “mixed feelings” after HWA’s remarkable day.
“We have mixed feelings after this race day. Our performance in qualifying was absolutely magnificent and we picked up the first points and pole position in Formula E for both HWA RACELAB and for Stoffel Vandoorne.
“In the race, Stoffel was in contention for a spot on the podium until he unfortunately had to retire with a drive shaft issue. Gary at least managed to finish eighth and score his first points in the series.
We must work on our race pace and the reliability of the car for the coming races. However, it feels good to know that we are improving from race to race.”