The Swiss driver’s defence of his title continues strongly as the driver wins the first race in Africa
It wasn’t smooth sailing for Sebastien Buemi in Marrakesh. He qualified second but was given a penalty and started the race in sixth place. He felt the penalty was harsh and he was unable to really show the pace of the car in the first stint, but ran a lap longer than the leaders and successfully cut through the field in his second stint.
Jean-Eric Vergne’s luck was nonexistent. The Frenchman was fastest in qualifying at the group stages and qualified for the Super Pole shootout. He was to be the last to take to the track, but got to the end of the pitlane too late and was not allowed to set a time. He started the race in fifth.
In the first stint he sliced his way through the field and was running in second. He was closing in on Felix Rosenqvist for the win when he was handed a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane during his pitstop. He finished the race in eighth.
This brought Buemi back into play, who was now promoted to first. He quickly caught the Swedish rookie and drove around the outside to clinch his second win of the 2016/17 season.
Brit Sam Bird was soon on his gearbox and swiftly passed the Mahindra driver for second place: finally some retribution after losing his chance of winning the Hong Kong ePrix when his second car wouldn’t start. The Brit also crashed in the second free practice session, forcing his team to work frantically to repair his car.
Nelson Piquet had a torrid time in Marrakesh. The Brazilian was running well in the first stint but after his pitstop dropped to a lap behind the field and spent the rest of the race playing catchup.
Buemi’s rival Lucas di Grassi had an appalling qualifying after a small mistake made him twelfth fastest. He had some fierce battles with the midfield and was hopeful of a repeat performance of Hong Kong, where he came from the back of the grid through to second. However there was no safety car to help him this time and he had to settle for fifth.
Antonio Felix da Costa and Loic Duval also had a race to forget, though the latter was able to set the fastest lap of the race before having to coast to see the chequered flag. Mitch Evans was running a solid race in 15th, marred only by overshooting the corner on the penultimate lap.
However the star of the show was undoubtably Rosenqvist, who stormed to his maiden pole in only his second Formula E race and only lost his lead with six laps to go.
The future of Formula E is indisputably bright.
There’s a bit of a break until the next race: Formula E returns on 18th February for the Buenos Aires ePrix
2016 Marrakesh ePrix results
- Sebastien Buemi RENAULT E.DAMS
- Sam Bird DS VIRGIN RACING
- Felix Rosenqvist MAHINDRA
- Nico Prost RENAULT E.DAMS
- Lucas Di Grassi ABT SCHAEFFLER AUDI
- Daniel Abt ABT SCHAEFFLER AUDI
- Oliver Turvey NEXTEV
- Jean-Eric Vergne TECHEETAH
- Nick Heidfeld MAHINDRA
- Jose Maria Lopez DS VIRGIN RACING
- Robin Frijns MS AMLIN ANDRETTI
- Stephane Sarrazin VENTURI
- Jerome D’Ambrosio DRAGON RACING FARADAY FUTURE
- Adam Carroll JAGUAR
- Ma Qing Hua TECHEETAH
- Nelson Piquet Jr NEXTEV
- Mitch Evans JAGUAR
DNF: Loic Duval DRAGON RACING FARADAY FUTURE; Antonio Felix da Costa MS AMLIN ANDRETTI; Maro Engel VENTURI