The fifth round of the ABB FIA Formula E 2018/2019 season nearly saw its first ever wet race just in time to celebrate its 50thE-Prix in the Harbour of central Hong Kong.
Local showers scattered the Formula E paddock through-out the morning practice sessions and qualifying session. Both DS TECHEETAH drivers went out in the second qualifying group which saw André Lotterer head into his 5thsuper pole in Formula E. Team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne went for a repeat of last year and qualified his DS E-TENSE FE19 backwards, unfortunately without the pole position at hand this time. By causing a red flag for his spin, the Frenchman got his qualifying lap deleted and therefore started in the back of the grid whilst André begun his race from the second row.
At the restart André utilised his ATTACK MODE to take one position and to eventually claim the lead. Whilst Jean-Éric went fighting up the grid after being at the centre of two accidents, André delivered an incredible drive, leading 80% of the race and keeping Sam Bird at bay until the very last lap when he got taken out by an aggressive move from the Brit which broke André’s suspension and triggered a puncture. Jean-Éric and André eventually finished P13 and P14 respectively.
Mark Preston, DS TECHEETAH Team Principal:
“We all feel for André today; the race was his and he deserved that win. Since joining DS TECHEETAH, he has been going from strength to strength in this series, nosing at the podium multiple times and that first race win should have been his today. He showed of a strong weekend from the start with quick laps in both practice sessions and qualifying to make it into super pole and ensure a good position on the grid.
“This is probably the most stressful race we’ve had in a while with André nearly claiming the win and Jean-Éric being at the wrong end of some further aggressive driver tactics. Jean-Éric had another race full of misfortunes sadly which were difficult to recover from. He’s such a talented driver and it’s frustrating for him not being able to be up there fighting in the front where he belongs.
“It was nice to see André flying in the front showcasing the pace in the car, and in the wet this time so we’ll take that with us as a positive and do everything that we can to have a good race in Sanya in two weeks’ time.”
Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director:
Despite the result I want to congratulate Andre for his performance. Fast throughout the weekend, he deserved his first victory. Naturally, we are extremely disappointed with the result of the race, which ended with a puncture after Sam Bird came into contact with his tire. A very sad situation for the team, this is motorsport and we must now turn our attention to the next race in Sanya, China.
Jean-Éric Vergne, #25:
“Today wasn’t my race, I had another round of bad luck. I feel very sorry for André, the race was his today and we lost a win as a team. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in this race so not much more to say. We’ll put this behind us and move forward together as a team and we’ll bounce back in Sanya. It’s going to be our home race and hopefully we can finally have a good race there.”
André Lotterer, #36:
“It was supposed to be a really good day today. On the last lap of the race, I got hit in the back by Sam Bird unfortunately which destroyed my tire and my suspension. It wasn’t really a fair move and we now go home empty handed. It’s pretty sad because even if Sam got a 5 second penalty, it doesn’t change the race for me, I can’t get those points back. The good thing is that I had the fastest lap and we have a good car so now we look to Sanya and keep moving forward.”