Mahindra Racing's Jérôme d’Ambrosio has registered a win in the second race of the Formula E season. d’Ambrosio started 10th on the grid and worked his way up to the front end, registering a victory second year in a row for Mahindra Racing on the Moroccan race track. The race was the second round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, which saw Jérôme, who scored a podium last time in Saudi Arabia, and Pascal Wehrlein piloting the two M5Electros.
Qualifying groups this year are determined in championship order so, after his third-place podium finish in Saudi Arabia last month, Jérôme headed out in Group 1, while Pascal was in Group 4. Jérôme set the fastest lap of 1:18.440 to secure a fifth-row starting position from tenth. Pascal narrowly missed out on Super Pole on his Formula E qualifying debut, setting a lap time of 1:18.126 to line up seventh on the grid from the fourth row.
On the first lap, Jérôme avoided a first corner mess to move up from his tenth place starting position to fifth. On lap 14 he passed DS Virgin’s Sam Bird for fourth and two laps later passed Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns to move into a podium finishing third place.
The two BMW cars of Antonio Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims collided, allowing Jérôme to race through into the lead. A safety car then bunched up the pack, with green flag racing resuming with just a lap to go. With a field of drivers with everything to play for, Jérôme expertly kept his cool at the front and took the chequered flag as the victor.
Unfortunately, it was a different race altogether for Pascal Wehrlein. After qualifying in a strong seventh position on his Formula E debut, narrowly missing out on Super Pole, he was hit hard from behind by a late-braking Lucas Di Grassi just ten seconds into the race heading into the first corner. His car was damaged and he was forced into retirement.
Starting this year, the rules of Formula E championship have been updated completely. The race now lasts 45 minutes plus one extra lap without any pit stops. The FIA has also introduced a power boost called 'Attack Mode' for which the racers have to drive off the racing line and through the 'Activation Zone'. The reward for driving on the slower line, the drivers get an extra 25 kW of power.
Another new Formula E initiative is the 'Fanboost'. Five drivers receive Fanboost from fan voting ahead of the race, which translates to a significant burst in power that the drivers can use in a five-second window during the second half of the race.