Sacha Fenestraz delivered a really strong weekend at the Monaco E-Prix, with the rookie having secured a front row start for the ninth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, before finishing fourth at the Circuit de Monaco.
The Frenchman boasted strong pace throughout the day at The Principality, with the Nissan Formula E Team driver having set a new Formula E lap record at Monaco, during his Semi-Final duel. Fenestraz had actually claimed pole position only to have his Final time deleted, due to an overuse of power. Nevertheless, he still started the famous race from second.
He remained in second for the opening laps before slipping behind some of the title favourites, who quickly worked their way through the field. The rookie ultimately didn’t quite have the race pace to claim a maiden Formula E podium, with him having been forced to settle for fourth. Given that his most recent points finish prior to Monaco was Diriyah Race Two, the return to the top ten was most welcomed by the Japanese manufacturer.
Fenestraz was pleased to be “back fighting at the front” but did admit that his race strategy “could have been a little better”; however, he was overall delighted to be back amongst the leaders.
“A really positive weekend overall, with a fantastic qualifying session. It might not officially be our pole but I see it as ours, as we set the fastest lap and only lost it due to an overuse of power.
“Still, we were very happy to be starting on the front row. Our strategy could have been a little bit better, but we’re pleased with our pace and to be back fighting at the front. We picked up a really strong haul of points today, the team is working hard and we’ll keep pushing for the rest of the season.”
“We showed plenty of potential this weekend” – Norman Nato
On the other side of the Nissan garage, Norman Nato was unfortunate to pick up some damage in the closing laps of the race, having been amongst the top ten for the entirety of it.
Nato was blisteringly quick like his team-mate during qualifying and was actually beaten in the Semi-Final stage of the duels by Fenestraz, in what was a Nissan v Nissan affair. His Semi-Final time was still good enough for third on the grid, though, giving him hope of a strong result. He remained in the top ten for most of the race until he sustained damage late on, forcing him down to eighteenth.
It was certainly a disappointing end to the day for the French driver, who has now gone four races without a points finish. He can at least take some confidence having progressed into the duels for the first time this season, proving that both him and the car have got plenty of speed.
“I used my Monaco experience in qualifying, and I was delighted to top the group and progress to the Duels,” said Nato. “I didn’t get to do a lap at 350kW in practice, so it was interesting and quite fun to experience. Sacha did a great job in the semi-final, but we were still happy with P3 and even more so to have both cars at the front.
“In the race, we lost a few places during the Attack Mode phase and then once we were in the middle of the pack, it made it difficult to regain positions. I then picked up some damage that ended our hopes of a top-10 finish, but we showed plenty of potential this weekend and we’re feeling encouraged for the rounds to come.”