Marrakesh E-Prix: Da Costa wins, Gunther pips sick Vergne

Valentin Khorounzhiy
motorsport.com

Reigning series champion Vergne had sat out Friday's shakedown and first practice due to illness, but climbed to as high as second place in the race, before ultimately coming up just short in an exhilarating battle against Maximilian Gunther.

A rapid start from pole by da Costa contrasted with a somewhat sluggish getaway from second-placed Gunther, but the BMW man saw off Andre Lotterer's challenge into the first corner and set his sights on da Costa.

With Porsche driver Lotterer then slipping behind the Mercedes of Nyck de Vries – only to reclaim third place when the latter was subsequently hit with a drive-through penalty for excessive power regeneration - da Costa and Gunther established an early two-second cushion over the chasing pack.

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The gap between the two leaders themselves would oscillate between a few tenths and a second over the opening few laps, but when both moved to activate the first of their two four-minute attack mode periods on lap 11, da Costa made better use of the extra power to put himself two seconds clear of Gunther.

By then, da Costa's teammate Vergne had muscled his way through from 11th on the grid to third, although he soon dropped back behind Lotterer, who had activated his first attack mode later.

Coming into lap 15, with the race approaching its halfway point, da Costa eased off dramatically, allowing Gunther to neutralise the gap and attempt to overtake the DS Techeetah driver around the outside of Turn 11.

Da Costa fought off this attack, but then offered little resistance as Gunther executed a move around the outside of the sweeping Turn 1 left-hander.

With both doing significant energy management, da Costa nearly fell into the clutches of Lotterer as he activated his second attack mode, but having retained the position he then eased past Gunther on the run down to Turn 11.

Gunther then followed suit in activating his final attack mode, but da Costa had established enough of a gap with the use of his allotted extra power to remain ahead once Gunther's four minutes ran out.

At that point, Gunther came under immediate pressure from Vergne – who was last of the frontrunners to activate his second attack mode, having not needed it to re-pass Lotterer for third – and had no answer to the reigning champion when Vergne drove down the inside of Turn 1, in the final seconds of him having extra power.

Yet Gunther now had a usable energy advantage over Vergne, and though the reigning champion threw a very late block on the inside line of Turn 1 in the dying minutes that nearly resulted in a collision, Gunther was unfazed – and was told by BMW that Vergne was fighting “a losing battle”.

The prediction ultimately came true as while Vergne managed to fight off another Gunther attack at Turn 1, this time around the outside, he was powerless to stop Gunther from overtaking him with two corners left.

Their battle had left da Costa some 11 seconds in the clear, while Vergne just narrowly held on to make it two DS Techeetah cars on the podium, finishing two tenths clear of Nissan's Sebastien Buemi.

Venturi's Edoardo Mortara made it four top-eight finishes in five races with fifth place, but finished just eight tenths clear of a spectacular Mitch Evans.

The erstwhile points leader started last after a Jaguar qualifying miscalculation, but broke into the top 10 by lap 24 and made further progress to grab sixth place.

Lucas di Grassi led Audi's efforts in seventh, the highlight of his race coming when he overtook both James Calado (Jaguar) and Jerome d'Ambrosio (Mahindra) in a single Turn 3 move.

From podium contention, Lotterer faded to eighth at the end, with Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams) and Sam Bird (Virgin Audi) completing the podium. De Vries recovered to 11th following his drive-through penalty.

Mahindra driver Pascal Wehrlein had his points hopes dashed by a puncture, but posted the fastest lap of the race on the final tour, finishing as the final car on the lead lap in 22nd.

Ma Qing Hua (NIO 333) was a lap down in 23rd, while BMW's Alexander Sims suffered a last-lap heartbreak, dropping out of a points-paying position with an apparent failure.

1

Portugal
Portugal

Antonio Felix da Costa

DS E-TENSE FE20
DS E-TENSE FE20
China
China

Techeetah

34

46'52.757

 

2

Germany
Germany

Maximilian Gunther

BMW iFE.20
BMW iFE.20
United States
United States

Andretti Autosport

34

47'04.184

11.427

3

France
France

Jean-Eric Vergne

DS E-TENSE FE20
DS E-TENSE FE20
China
China

Techeetah

34

47'04.791

12.034

4

Switzerland
Switzerland

Sébastien Buemi

Nissan IM02
Nissan IM02
France
France

DAMS

34

47'05.039

12.282

5

Switzerland
Switzerland

Edoardo Mortara

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Monaco
Monaco

Venturi

34

47'08.414

15.657

6

New Zealand
New Zealand

Mitch Evans

Jaguar I-Type 4
Jaguar I-Type 4
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Jaguar Racing

34

47'09.092

16.335

7

Brazil
Brazil

Lucas di Grassi

Audi e-tron FE06
Audi e-tron FE06
Germany
Germany

Team Abt

34

47'11.463

18.706

8

Germany
Germany

Andre Lotterer

Porsche 99X Electric
Porsche 99X Electric
Germany
Germany

Porsche Team

34

47'12.255

19.498

9

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Oliver Rowland

Nissan IM02
Nissan IM02
France
France

DAMS

34

47'12.883

20.126

10

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Sam Bird

Audi e-tron FE06
Audi e-tron FE06
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Virgin Racing

34

47'13.052

20.295

11

Netherlands
Netherlands

Nyck de Vries

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Germany
Germany

Mercedes

34

47'13.314

20.557

12

Netherlands
Netherlands

Robin Frijns

Audi e-tron FE06
Audi e-tron FE06
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Virgin Racing

34

47'15.130

22.373

13

Belgium
Belgium

Jérôme d'Ambrosio

Mahindra M6Electro
Mahindra M6Electro
India
India

Mahindra Racing

34

47'15.542

22.785

14

Germany
Germany

Daniel Abt

Audi e-tron FE06
Audi e-tron FE06
Germany
Germany

Team Abt

34

47'17.837

25.080

15

Belgium
Belgium

Stoffel Vandoorne

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Germany
Germany

Mercedes

34

47'18.726

25.969

16

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

James Calado

Jaguar I-Type 4
Jaguar I-Type 4
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Jaguar Racing

34

47'19.285

26.528

17

Brazil
Brazil

Felipe Massa

Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01
Monaco
Monaco

Venturi

34

47'20.243

27.486

18

Switzerland
Switzerland

Neel Jani

Porsche 99X Electric
Porsche 99X Electric
Germany
Germany

Porsche Team

34

47'37.233

44.476

19

New Zealand
New Zealand

Brendon Hartley

Penske EV-4
Penske EV-4
United States
United States

Dragon Racing

34

47'41.759

49.002

20

Switzerland
Switzerland

Nico Müller

Penske EV-4
Penske EV-4
United States
United States

Dragon Racing

34

47'45.832

53.075

21

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Oliver Turvey

NIO FE-005
NIO FE-005
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

NIO Formula E Team

34

47'52.726

59.969

22

Germany
Germany

Pascal Wehrlein

Mahindra M6Electro
Mahindra M6Electro
India
India

Mahindra Racing

34

48'06.171

1'13.414

23

China
China

Ma Qing Hua

NIO FE-005
NIO FE-005
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

NIO Formula E Team

33

47'25.441

1 Lap

 

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Alexander Sims

BMW iFE.20
BMW iFE.20
United States
United States

Andretti Autosport

33

45'45.519

1 Lap

View full results

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