ABB Formula E – Sanya ePrix – Race
Round six of the 2019 ABB FIA Formula E championship takes place on the Haitang Bay Circuit in the brand new location of Sanya, Southern China. The city – which hosted “Miss World” in 2017 & 2018 – is described as the “Chinese Florida” due to it’s coastal location and tropical climate.
As is becoming the norm in Formula E, qualifying was completely unpredictable. In just his seventh race, it was Oliver Rowland who took pole position by exactly 0.100 seconds from Jean-Eric Vergne. Antonio Felix da Costa has looked strong all weekend and qualified 3rd ahead of Daniel Abt. Sebastian Buemi was due to line up 5th after crashing in super pole – however he was excluded from qualifying for a technical infringement, and was forced to start from the pit lane. This effectively promotes Alex Sims to 5th after the British driver suffered a gearbox failure in the final session. Meanwhile, in terms of the championship leaders; it’s d’Ambrosio 8th, di Grassi 10th, Mortara 11th and Bird 16th.
As the race got underway, Daniel Abt made an aggressive move into turn one past Antonio Felix da Costa. The full course yellow would quickly come out for Felipe Nasr who took a while to get moving from the grid. Under that full course yellow, Sam Bird was hit in the rear by Stoffel Vandoorne – causing the championship leader to retire from the race.
The story of the race was Oliver Rowland struggling for pace, and causing a huge eight car train for the lead. Jean-Eric Vergne did manage to sneak past the British driver eventually, then sprinted away and executed the perfect attack mode deployment; coming back on to the racing line while just about maintaining the lead.
As always, there were a number of incidents, with the major ones being Alexander Sims hitting the wall in a big way and retiring from the race. While on the second-to-last lap of the race, Sebastien Buemi broke far too late for the turn eight hairpin and shoved Robin Frijns into Lucas di Grassi at fairly high speed; causing the Brazilian to spin and retire. A disastrous day for di Grassi. He was already frustrated before the retirement having tried twice, and failed twice, to correctly deploy attack mode – he amusingly kept running wide and missing the sensors!
Jean-Eric Vergne came through to take his 6th win in Formula E, ahead of Oliver Rowland and Antonio Felix da Costa who made up the podium. Andre Lotterer finished 4th to make it a very good day for Chinese team Techeetah at their home race. Daniel Abt finished 5th ahead of Buemi in 6th. The two Mahindra’s had a quiet race and came home 7th & 8th with Jerome d’Ambrosio leading Pascal Wehrlein. Mitch Evans finished 9th for Jaguar Racing while Hong Kong winner Edoardo Mortara scored the final point for Venturi.
Only 13 cars crossed the line today, another chaotic race of attrition. This gets said every race, but these results are still provisional with multiple drivers under investigation.
The impact of this race on both championships is fascinating. da Costa leads the drivers’ championship with 62 points, just three ahead of d’Ambrosio. Meanwhile, Vergne’s win today moved him from 11th to 3rd!
As for the teams’ championship; I don’t believe we’ve ever seen a title this close in the middle of the season in any series ..
1) Virgin 97 pts
2) Audi 96 pts
3) Techeetah 95 pts
4) Mahindra 93 pts
Do you guys have any predictions about how the season will play out? Or are predictions largely redundant given how chaotic the races are proving to be every single time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.