Photo: Sam Bagnall/LAT/Formula E

Felix Rosenqvist Parlays Late Overtake into Marrakesh E-Prix Win

By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer

For a time it appeared that Sebastien Buemi and Renault e.dams were due to return to the dominant form they’d displayed throughout the early days of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Morocco.

But in the end Felix Rosenqvist and Mahindra Racing wouldn’t be denied.

Rosenqvist used a late overtake of pole-sitter and potential championship rival Buemi with just five laps remaining to drive off to the victory in the 2018 Marrakesh E-Prix, surging into the points lead in the driver’s championship in the process.

The victory was the third of Rosenqvist’s two-year Formula E tenure, and his second-consecutive triumph after a victory in the HKT Hong Kong E-Prix.

While the day’s early practice sessions saw a bit of variety, the race was a tale of three cars from the beginning. Rosenqvist laid down the quickest time of any driver in qualifications, but was relegated to third on the grid behind Buemi and Sam Bird at the start of the race after making a mistake in Turn 4 in his Super Pole effort.

Rosenqvist, 26, stayed with the top two after the lights went out to start the E-Prix. The Swiss surged into second shortly before the car swap when he took advantage of an ailing machine for Bird – who claimed he couldn’t take his initial car out of third gear at the end of the run.

That left just Buemi to overtake, and after the car swap Rosenqvist was able to set his sights on the Season Two champion. A string of solid laps drew the Mahindra ace within range.

When he saw an opportunity to challenge for the lead late in the running, Rosenqvist didn’t hesitate.

After making a successful overtake, Rosenqvist drove off to a .945-second victory. Buemi, who claimed that his FanBoost award didn’t work correctly during the race, was left following in second with a disappointing – if much-needed – podium.

Bird followed a safe third to complete the podium, with Season One champion Nelson Piquet Jr. and Jean-Eric Vergne rounding out the top five.

Finishing out the points were Jose Maria Lopez in his first race with Dragon Racing, Nick Heidfeld, Tom Blomqvist on his debut for MS&AD Andretti Formula E, Nicolas Prost and Alex Lynn.

Venturi Formula E Team’s Maro Engel crossed the start-finish line in seventh, but was assessed a post-race time penalty for causing a collision that relegated him to 13th. Daniel Abt finished outside of the points in 11th for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler after being given a drive-thru penalty for a collision with Lynn.

Defending champion Lucas di Grassi suffered another pointless run as his machine suffered from an early MGU error that he’d first experienced in qualifying. The bug forced the Brazilian off-track early in 20th, meaning he’s still searching for his first point of Season Four after three rounds.

After nearly earning a victory in Hong Kong, rookie Edoardo Mortara was left a disappointed 17th after getting the worst of a three-car battle for position inside of the points in the closing laps.

Oliver Turvey left Morocco disappointed after having to start Marrakesh from the pit lane due to adjustments made on his machine. Turvey ascended to ninth over the opening run, but was forced to retire after his first car ran out of energy due to issues that prevented him from having a second working machine.

The lone full-course yellow on the day came near the event’s midway point, as Andre Lotterer came to a stop after a spin and was unable to remove his machine from the racing surface. Lotterer was classified in 19th.

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship will return to action for the Santiago E-Prix on Feb. 3.

2018 Marrakesh E-Prix Results

Position Car No. Driver Team
1 19 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing
2 9 Sebastien Buemi Renault e.Dams
3 2 Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing
4 3 Nelson Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing
5 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah
6 6 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Racing
7 23 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing
8 27 Tom Blomqvist MS&AD Andretti Formula E
9 8 Nicolas Prost Renault e.Dams
10 36 Alex Lynn DS Virgin Racing
11 66 Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
12 20 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing
13 5 Maro Engel Venturi Formula E Team
14 28 Antonio Felix da Costa MS&AD Andretti Formula E
15 7 Jerome d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing
16 68 Luca Filippi NIO Formula E Team
17 4 Edoardo Mortara Venturi Formula E Team
18 16 Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team
19 18 Andre Lotterer Techeetah
20 1 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

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Aaron Bearden is a Contributing Writer for Motorsports Tribune, handling coverage of both the Verizon IndyCar Series and ABB FIA Formula E Championship. A native Hoosier, Bearden has attended races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was three years old. He can be found on social media at @AaronBearden93.