For the second consecutive race weekend, Norman Nato finished inside the top three but was not able to stand on the podium due to a penalty. However, at least in the Valencia E-Prix, he was still able to score points.
The ROKiT Venturi Racing driver finished second on the road in race two of the Valencia E-Prix at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, but a five-second time penalty, handed to him after he collided with Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn earlier in the day, relegated him to fifth.
Nato had earlier taken advantage of a drying track to make it into the pole shootout in Qualifying, and he was at the sharp end of the field throughout the day, ending less than second behind race winner Jake Dennis.
Race one had not gone his way, with the Frenchman the first driver to run out of usable energy a couple of laps before the end. However, he was pleased with the response and his first confirmed top ten finish of his ABB FIA Formula E Championship career.
“On a drying track, qualifying from Group 4 was a big advantage and this placed us in a very strong position to challenge in the race,” said Nato. “After yesterday, it was incredibly important to manage our energy consumption throughout which we were able to do.
“Everyone was in the same position with conservation and when I was in P3, Dennis slowed massively which caused the pack to bunch up. This caught me off guard and I applied the brakes as soon as possible but I touched Alex [Lynn] and he went off the track.
“It wasn’t on purpose and I’m really sorry it happened. It was a shame to get the penalty because it cost us another podium today which is difficult to swallow.
“There are still a lot of positives – the car felt great, we had strong pace and we were able to fight for the win today, which is very good before our home race in Monaco.”
Susie Wolff, the Team Principal at Venturi, says it won’t be long before Nato completes the job and stands on the podium in Formula E. He had lost a podium in the Rome E-Prix for using too much energy that resulted in a disqualification, and now the time penalty for the Lynn collision again knocked him back.
“It was a shame for Norman to pick up a five-second time penalty which meant he wasn’t able to stand on the podium for the second race weekend in a row,” said Wolff. “He deserved P2 but I’m confident that his time will come very soon.
“A result like this before our home race is very encouraging and now, our full focus moves to the Monaco E-Prix in two weeks time where we’ve had success as a team in the past.”
Venturi’s second driver, Edoardo Mortara, failed to score in race one in Valencia after a collision with André Lotterer ended his race, but he fought back to claim ninth place in race two, which came despite him starting near the back of the field.
“We had a difficult race today starting from the back,” said Mortara. “On the opening lap, I made up some positions but I was pushed wide which cost me some time. Overall, I think it was a good comeback drive.
“We had good pace and the team executed the strategy well which meant we had more energy than the cars around us at the end. Considering where we started from, P9 is a good result.”