Lost win avenged in wild Formula E race

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Madness ruled as Formula E raced around Mexico City, with numerous safety cars and incidents littering a race that was eventually won by some incredible energy saving.

Elsewhere the BTCC kicked off with a predictably chaotic opening round at Brands Hatch and the World Rallycross Championship began with a familiar face on top in Spain.

Formula E

Race 4: Mexico

Lucas di Grassi was first to the chequered flag as Formula E returned to Mexico City – but this time he was allowed to keep his win.

The Abt driver avenged his disqualification from last year’s race on a shortened, Formula E-friendly version of the Autodromo Hermanos Rosriguez. He recovered from a woeful qualifying and early setback which left him last in the early running.

Da Costa was caught out by the low-grip track
A slippery track plus a penalty for original pole sitter Daniel Abt produced a mixed up grid headed by birthday boy Oliver Turvey. The NextEV driver led until he was forced out with technical problems after a dozen laps. Di Grassi’s day went from bad to worse when Maro Engel rear-ended him on the first lap and sent him into the pits for a new rear wing assembly.

Di Grassi’s team were at least able to complete the repairs during the first of several Safety Car periods. He returned to the pits when the yellow flags flew for Turvey’s car. He pitted for his mandatory car change five laps before the mid-race point and was joined by Jerome d’Ambrosio. The pair assumed the lead once the rest of the field made their stops, albeit with 30% less energy.

A third Safety Car period eradicated their lead but also gave them a chance to save power. At the restart Jose Maria Lopez attacked d’Ambrosio, but two misplaced wheels heading to turn one saw him spin out of third place. Sebastien Buemi, who was labouring the midfield, had a simultaneous spin, throwing away any chance of points on a miserable day for the championship leader.

This left Jean-Eric Vergne to attack d’Ambrosio but unsuccessfully for nearly ten laps before a mistake from d’Ambrosio at turn one allowed him through, though di Grassi was now clear up the road, and with the same amount of energy after some deploying some impressive saving skills.

The race ended under yellow flag in the stadium section after Nico Prost spun Nick Heidfeld while battling for fifth, who was collected by his unsighted team mate Felix Rosenqvist – eliminating both Mahindra’s and scattering a number of their competitors. Up front however di Grassi survived the drama’s to take a shock win ahead of Vergne, while d’Ambrosio ran out of energy late on with Sam Bird taking the final podium position.


Race 6: Martinsville

Brad Keselowski took his second victory of the year despite being sent to the back of the field earlier in the race for speeding in the pits. Kyle Busch led more than half of the 500-lapper but was passed by his Penske rival with three laps to go.

World Rallycross Championship

Race 1: Spain

Reigning champion Mattias Ekstrom won the opening race of the season after dominating the final. He took the lead when Johan Kristoffersson struggled to get away, and never relinquished it. Timo Scheider followed him home in second while Andreas Bakkerud fought off stiff competition from former champion Petter Solberg and Timmy Hansen.

British Touring Car Championship

Races 1-3: Brands Hatch (Indy)

Wet qualifying for the first BTCC round of 2017 produced a surprise pole sitter in Jeff Smith. But for the second year in succession Tom Ingram won the opening race.

The drama began within seconds of the lights going out as the fast-starting BMW of Colin Turkington was tagged by Matt Neal, eliminating both and bringing out the Safety Car. While Ingram was in control up front, Gordon Shedden and Adam Morgan pulled away from the field to complete the podium. While Jeff Smith’s challenge unravelled, eventually retiring with technical problems, his team mate Jack Goff took fourth, with Rob Austin fifth.

Race two was run in almost farcical circumstances: pole man Ingram couldn’t get off the line, causing an aborted start, but rather than falling to the back of the grid, he took his pole spot and was given a drive-through penalty. But when the cars eventually got away Jason Plato and Matt Simpson did their best to recreate the Turkington/Neal crash from race one. The contact fired Plato hard into the pit wall, brought out the red flags and gave Ingram his pole back, penalty-free.

However there was no repeat win for Ingram: Shedden and Rob Collard found their way through over the course of the race to take first and second respectively, though Shedden pushed on after the race ended unaware he’d won, as no chequered flag was shown. Ingram managed third, while Austin ended up fourth on the road until he was thrown out of the race for a physical pass on Andrew Jordan which was completed under yellow flags at Clearways. This promoted Morgan to fourth, Mat Jackson to fifth and Jordan to sixth.

Austin’s exclusion also affected the random draw for pole position for race three: Josh Cook was initially selected for pole, but the change to the race two results meant the returning Tom Chilton and his brand new Vauxhall Astra started the final race from the front instead.

Race three went the way of Andrew Jordan after a perfect start on the harder tyre, while Colin Turkington completed a sensational recovery from the first race drama to take second position ahead of Chilton, whose soft tyres slowly degraded. Neal ended up in a distant fourth, ahead of Morgan and Collard. Shedden took sixth, but the defending champion left Brands Hatch with a six-point lead on top of the table.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend and what are you looking forward to next week? Let us know in the comments.

Next weekend’s racing

The following series are in action next weekend:

  • IMSA race 3: Long Beach
  • IndyCar race 2: Long Beach
  • NASCAR Cup race 7: Texas
  • World Rally Championship race 4: France
  • World Touring Car Championship races 1-2: Morocco

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23 comments on “Lost win avenged in wild Formula E race”

  1. I have a question, and please don’t take this in a wrong way.

    How come a country with so few roundabouts has their favourite motosport race in giant ones?

    1. That’s why the public doesn’t want them – There’s NO freakin EXIT !?!?

    2. Forget COTD. Comment of the year right there

    3. It’s just an outdated way of racing.

    4. @johnmilk NASCAR’s origins begins with the prohibition era where bootleggers used small, fast vehicles that were modified to deliver the product and to out run the law. The practice continued with the Moonshine industry after Prohibition ended. Eventually, debates would pop up about who had the better car and in order to determine that tracks were built across the south. Since there were plenty of fields, it was easiest to just built a small dirt short track. Then William France Sr came along, organized NASCAR, and built Daytona in 1959, and our giant roundabouts were born.

      1. @dragon86 I don’t follow the series if I’m honest, and my comment was jut a bit of fun, but thank you for the history, I appreciate that.

    5. Not so much a reaction to @johnmilk his comment, which I did find amusing, NASCAR provides what many search in motorsports. If you visit any chat online during any racing, whether that’s simracing or real racing, people want to see crashes between cars going fast.

      NASCAR is simple to follow, very accessible, cheap, and on top of that they race almost every weekend. I visited the Las Vegas Speedway a week before its race and by standing there I had really wished I took a better look at the NASCAR calendar and my travel plan across the west coast.

      I also find people saying NASCAR is nothing more than driving in circles quite uninformed on the matter. If NASCAR is only turning left, then surely F1 is only turning left, and right…

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this race, plus the tight Indy circuit for the opening rounds of the BTCC at Brands on Sunday.

    Hopefully F1 in China will be a bit more exciting to compete!

  3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    3rd April 2017, 11:36

    First Formula E race I have actually watched and it seems it was a good one to kick off, count me in!

    1. @offdutyrockstar other races have more action because mexico city provides less air which provides less slipstream. You should see the earlier races

  4. The noise Dario Franchitti made when Prost hit Heidfeld said it all. What a woeful piece of driving.

    Otherwise an eventful race! Some good action in the BTCC too.

    1. Prost and Heidfeld has quite a history together, their last corner clash in the very first ePrix in Beijing 2014 started something, and during the 2 and a half years since that collision, they found each other a couple of times…
      Other than that, WHAT a race, again.

      1. I really feel for Nick, he’s my favourite driver on the grid and it’s an absolute shame that he had the 2014 race win stolen from him and now this accident with Prost. What an awful, awful driver. Here’s hoping we get to see Nick at least win a race or fight for the championship perhaps he’ll end up at BMW in 2018?

        1. In season 1 he was an under-the-radar dark horse, brutal raw speed, decisive and clean overtakes, tremendous starts, he provided everything a title contender requires. But unfortunately no success followed his efforts, sometimes his pitcrew scr_wed it up, sometimes the car gave it in, sometimes someone like Prost came and bodychecked him. Nowadays he still stands his ground against his stunningly quick teammate Rosenquist, made a brilliant start here in Mexico, defended cleanly and very effectively, and I still don’t knwo what made him dropped down the order after the pitstops. It was funny, when Jack Nichols read a tweet, that race leader Oliver Turvey hasn’t won a single seater race since 2009, and a few minutes later another tweet arrived, stating Nick Heidfeld hasn’t won since 1999…
          If someone, I can really appriciate his efforts, his brilliant podiums in uncompetitive cars in F1, but a win in Formula-E could really make him justice finally.

          1. Yeah exactly that, I would love to see him win a race or a championship, he’s been incredibly unlucky and the pairing with Felix is brilliant. Fingers crossed Nick can at least this season get a win somewhere!! Though I’d love to see him with BMW in Season 5, if given the right car and luck I think he’d have a shout at the title or in the very least be top 5.

  5. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    3rd April 2017, 16:17

    The official RX final replay is now up: https://youtu.be/wcMWblF43_g

    A nice manufacturer battle in the making, which is great to see investment wise, but sort of defeats the point a little I reckon

    The lack of any Olsbergs MSE cars on the 2017 grid puts a dent in hopes of seeing Jenson Button in the lineup, as the only team to feasibly run a Honda. Looks like it may just be a GRC foray sadly

  6. I am bitterly disappointed with the way WRX has started this season, and I was far from alone. I thoroughly enjoyed last season so like myself friends in Poland, Italy, Spain and France tuned in to watch the live stream only to find our countries geo-blocked. This was not the case last year but I guess popularity rose to WRX their head and now they can do without the commoners I guess.

    Immediately cancelled my plans to go to the Mettet RX round this year as I’m absolutely fed up with following championships through highlights and pictures only, I want action live. Unfollowed their twitter and deleted its events from my personal calendar.

    1. In the US too, WRX is geo-blocked this year. Ford Performance bought the rights, and there’s supposed to be a “free” live feed on the Ford Performance Facebook page, but it requires you to have a Facebook account, and I would rather gouge my eyes out with rusty spoons than open one.

      I’m normally a Ford fan, but now I’m irked that they’ve effectively spent money to *stop* me from watching WRX.

    2. Most VPN services have servers in many countries and allow you to get around geo-blocking. Yes, the cost a bit (avg. $5-$7 / month) but then you also get full web anonymity, better security. Really worth it, IMO.

  7. Wild no, artificial, just like Bourdais win in Indycar.
    If a crash like that was in F1, people will all over it, but in FE is “exciting”.

  8. FE was great. Totally put F1 to shame. Doesn’t matter how fast the cars are if there’s stuff all to get excited about.

    1. They do have fun races and F1 could implement less downforce to improve, although it has to be said FE cannot have high df as the drag would prevent cars finishing races. Less df equals closer racing but it has a long way to go to trump F1.

      Go to a FE race and experience the eeriness for yourself. It is a sport to watch purely on TV as there is nothing exhilarating about it. The cars go by at 50mph but barriers prevent you from seeing them so you just hear a whine of a power unit slide by. The cars are so slow, they’re better off putting kids in them as they weigh less and would be faster, while they’re more likely to get the cars to the end. F1 has the atmosphere because of the noise and faster speeds where the drivers have to be gladiators to cope with 6.5 g every lap.

      1. Thanks for the respectful reply. I should say that I have been to an FE race and had a fantastic time – better than most F1 weekends I’ve been too. I might be unique but the lack of noise and speed didn’t bother me as the racing was close and the access to the drivers and proximity to the circuit was brilliant. It didn’t hurt than the weather was good and the choices of food and drink were waaaaay better than at any F1 I’ve been too. F1 will always be my first love but it must try harder in my view!

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