Round 3: Marrakesh E-Prix
- Nelson Piquet Jr secures the VISA fastest lap of the race
- Nelson climbed through the pack to finish in 4th place, Mitch finished in 11th
- Felix Rosenqvist edged out Sebastian Buemi for first place
- Panasonic Jaguar Racing move up to fourth position in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship team standings
Marrakech-E-Prix in photos
GKN Brand Ambassadors report from the Marrakesh E-prix
The third race of Season 4 of the FIA Formula E Championship was this season’s one and only race on the African continent, in Marrakesh, Morocco. The host city of the event showed itself from its best side when we headed from the airport towards the hotel and the racing track.
We drove past the many okra coloured houses framed by the famous Atlas Mountains and the orange glow of the African sunset. The slightly chaotic and very picturesque city with its palm trees, donkeys and groups of people playing music and dancing in the town square made a good first impression.
Saturday the 14th was race day and the Marrakesh roads were crowded with people and cars heading for the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan. The race area was buzzing with excitement and the teams were keeping busy preparing for the day’s events. It is clear that Formula E attracts a lot of attention. During the race day top executives from large companies and celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom were seen at the track.
The track itself had 12 turns and with a length of 1.86 miles it is the longest one in the Formula E tournament. First out the drivers got to try the track to get a feel for it and then the qualifying race was on! Our drivers, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Mitch Evans, both drove well. A really strong performance put them in the top 10 as they qualified as p7 and p9. The qualifying race really showed some impressive racing as the drivers pushed the cars to their limits fighting for the pole position in the race. The qualifying resulted in both one red flag and a yellow as two other teams had their cars hitting the wall in corner 7 of the track.
Piquet said in the interview following the qualifying race that he felt good about the track but that it had been a bit wetter than he expected since it hadn´t dried up as much as he had hoped for. He said he took it a bit safe during the qualifying and felt that he had more to give in the race later in the day. A promise he made good on!
The garage of the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team was bristling with activity in the interim period between the qualifying race and the Marrakesh E-prix and everyone was focused on getting the four cars ready for the race. The Panasonic Jaguar engineering team, as well as the drivers, seemed to feel good about the cars going into the race and the excitement amongst the team members was great.
And then it was time for the big race. The cars sped off to the cheering of the crowd and the 33-lap race was on. Both Piquet Jr. and Evans looked fast on the track and were off to a really good start and 5 laps into the race they were in 4th and 6th. The drivers did really well in protecting the high positions and in lap 12 Evans advanced one position putting the Panasonic Jaguar racing team on the board as p4 and p5. Unfortunately Evans could not defend his position and as the teams prepared for the mandatory pit stop and car change in lap 18 Evans had dropped two positions and was now fighting at p7 in the field. Just as Evans was about to go for the pit stop there was a yellow flag due to a minor incident on the track.
This unfortunately put the drivers who had chosen to go for the pit stop during lap 18 instead of 19 at a disadvantage and as Evans came out of the pit stop he had dropped down to p13. Evans showed some great fighting spirit as he managed to maintain his position throughout the rest of the race and finished the race with some great laps securing p11.
Back on the track after the pit stop Piquet Jr. showed impressive skills defending his position. As the race went on the first 3 drivers managed to create a gap to the rest of the cars with Piquet Jr. following in a clear 4th position. A position he maintained with some skilful racing thereby securing the 4th place in this intense race.
Proud winner of the race was Felix Rosenqvist from Sweden driving for the Mahindra racing team. He was placed second throughout most of the race but did an impressive overtake in the final laps of the race and came out as the winner just before Sebastien Buemi in the Renault racing team.
The Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team showed some impressive results with Piquet Jr. and the team really showed that they are ready to fight for the podium positions this season as Piquet recorded the quickest lap of the race, receiving the trophy for the fastest lap. Unfortunately the bad timing of the yellow flag as Evans went for the pit stop took away his chance of a top position in this race. Still, he showed impressive fighting spirit and consistency in his driving throughout the whole race.
Leaving Marrakesh, we are convinced the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team will continue to perform well during this season of Formula E and hopefully be on the podium in race 4 at the track in Santiago, Chile on February 3rd. Best wishes to the team in the 4th race of the season in Santiago!
Marrakesh Race Results
Team Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Formula E Marrakesh
The second race of Season 4 kicks off in the heart of Marrakesh, Morroco on 13 January 2018.
The only African race in the season, Marrakesh returns to the FIA Formula E championship for the second year running. Hosting a race in Morocco is a natural fit for the sustainability message that Formula E promotes, as the country is pouring billions of dollars into building vast solar power stations to provide clean renewable energy. The race will take place on the Circuit Moulay El Hassan, of world touring car championship fame. As we approach the second race Panasonic Jaguar Racing will be looking to continue the momentum they began with a fantastic start to the season in Hong Kong, which included their first ever podium finish for Mitch.
About the circuit
The Circuit Moulay El Hassan is the longest track of the season at 2.97km, and will provide a huge challenge for energy management.
Located just a few miles from the centuries-old ramparts of the medina and the largest traditional souk in Morroco, this track is steeped in history. Named after the Morrocan crown prince, the circuit was purpose-built for racing, which may reduce some of the challenges associated with city centre street racing.
The track is wider than most, which should allow for more aggressive driving and cornering. The combination of the speed and sheer length of the track means that the whole team’s eyes will be on the battery’s state of charge, as no driver wants to grind to a halt before the finish line! This will be a great testing ground for the team to further prove the I-TYPE 2’s improved powertrain and learn important lessons for the season ahead.
The Championship races
In the media
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