Monaco’s VENTURI Formula E team saw both cars finish in the points at the end of Saturday’s E-prix in Rome (Italy), after superb drives from Maro ENGEL and Edoardo MORTARA.
BAD LUCK STRIKES IN FREE PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING
When the draw was made to determine the qualifying groups, Maro ENGEL was once again – for the fifth time in seven races – named in group n°1, which offers the slowest track conditions for the drivers. Maro nonetheless posted a fine lap time, ensuring he would start 14th on the grid. His teammate, Edoardo MORTARA, made contact with a wall on his flying lap, damaging the rear of his car and denying him the chance to clock a good time. He eventually qualified in 17th place.
AN EFFICIENT RACE PERFORMANCE
After Jérôme D’AMBROSIO (DRAGON RACING) picked up a penalty, Edoardo MORTARA moved up a place on the starting grid, to 16th. Maro ENGEL got off to a great start and gained two places at the first corner.
The early stages of the race saw MORTARA battling it out in a tense duel with JOSE-MARIA LOPEZ (DRAGON RACING), who eventually passed him. With a third of the race gone, Maro ENGEL (12th) found himself up against Nelson PIQUET Jr (JAGUAR RACING) and Antonio-Felix DA COSTA (ANDRETTI) in a contest that lasted several laps. All three drivers were focused on breaking into the top ten and collecting points. Just before the changeover, MORTARA was unable to avoid getting caught up in traffic, and was back in 17th when he jumped into his second car.
The VENTURI Formula E team drivers, mechanics, and engineers ensured the car swap went perfectly, and when they re-joined the race, ENGEL was 9th and MORTARA 13th.
Late on, having eased up into 8th position, Maro ENGEL saw D’AMBROSIO (DRAGON RACING) coming up fast in his rear view mirror, as the Belgian driver took full advantage of his above-average remaining energy. ENGEL was forced to give way.
“We can be happy with the result. Practice was difficult. After that, we all did some great work together. It’s true that we benefited from some racing incidents, but on the other hand the full course yellow didn’t help us. Having said that, I’m delighted that both cars finished in the points.” – Maro ENGEL, VENTURI Formula E team driver
Edoardo MORTARA gradually worked his way up the field and eventually made it into the points himself (10th place), just behind his teammate. Maro ENGEL finally crossed the finish line in 8th position, profiting from a problem for Mitch EVANS (JAGUAR RACING) who split the two VENTURI Formula E team drivers in 9th.
“It was a difficult race. We had to contend with some bad luck, for example when I got caught up in traffic. I also had some radio issues. It was hard to work on the strategy in those conditions and think about overtaking. Overall I have mixed feelings, because I think 7th place would have been achievable.” – Edoardo MORTARA, VENTURI Formula E team driver
FROM THE ETERNAL CITY TO THE CITY OF LIGHT
The VENTURI Formula E team ends this first leg of the European tour in 7th place in the overall rankings. The next race in the ABB Formula E Championship will take place in Paris on 28 April.
Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH – 119
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing – 101
Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing – 82
Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams – 60
Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler – 50
TECHEETAH – 152
DS Virgin Racing – 118
Mahindra Racing – 103
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler – 89
Panasonic Jaguar Racing – 88
Renault e.dams – 67
Venturi Formula E Team – 40
NIO Formula E Team – 33
DRAGON – 25
Andretti Formula E – 20