Felix Rosenqvist defeated Sébastien Buemi in a battle for victory in Saturday’s Marrakesh E-Prix, scoring his second successive Formula E win and snatching the overall championship lead.
Having won last time out in Hong Kong in December, Rosenqvist maintained his frontrunning momentum as the all-electric series reached Morocco this weekend, sealing a dramatic victory after overtaking Buemi just four laps from the end.
The Mahindra Racing Swede had started the E-Prix from third on the grid following a strong qualifying performance, which saw him top the group stages overall before settling for third in the ensuing Super Pole segment due to a slight mistake at the tricky Turn 4/5 chicane at Circuit Moulay El Hassan.
Rosenqvist duly kept his position in the opening stages of the 33-lap race, shadowing pole-sitter Buemi and second-placed Sam Bird for most of the first stint.
He demoted Bird shortly before the compulsory pit stops, with the second half of the race turning into a two-horse race between Rosenqvist and Buemi; a battle decided when Rosenqvist plunged down the inside of the Swiss former series champion at Turn 7 to take the lead.
With Buemi – a man of 55 Formula 1 starts – holding on to second and Bird to third, the podium featured the exact same drivers as in last season’s Marrakesh E-Prix, although in different order. It was sweet Moroccan revenge for Rosenqvist, who led much of last season’s edition before getting passed by both Buemi and Bird to finish third.
Today’s triumph marks Rosenqvist’s third career Formula E win.
“Such a fantastic day,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It didn’t start off very well in practice and I thought it might be a difficult one, but then we found some pace in qualifying that really transformed everything. Once in the race, I knew we had an efficient car. It was a nice feeling to pass Buemi some laps before the end to return the favour of last season, so I couldn’t be happier!”
The Marrakesh victory sees Rosenqvist take the advantage in the overall standings, where he now leads the way on 54 points – four ahead of Bird with three out of 14 races run.
“It’s cool to lead the championship, but it’s still very early days and I take it race by race,” Rosenqvist continues. “I came third last year as a rookie and our aim is to fight for the title this season, but it’s important to focus on the right things at the right moment and not get carried away.”
Meanwhile, Mahindra Racing continue to lead the teams’ standings, having put in a stellar performance that proved crucial in Rosenqvist’s bid for the Marrakesh win.
“This is definitely a team triumph,” Rosenqvist concludes. “There was an issue with the battery in my second car before the race, and the guys had to change it in record time during the first stint. I didn’t even know if the second car would be ready once I came in, but thankfully it was. We’re just getting stronger and stronger at the moment and I’m really excited for the rest of the campaign.”
The next round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship takes place in South America, as Chilean capital Santiago makes its debut as E-Prix host on February 3-4. Felix Rosenqvist, however, will be back in racing action one week prior to that, contesting the famous Rolex 24 At Daytona sportscar classic on January 25-28.
RESULTS (top five)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 3/14 | Marrakesh E-Prix
1: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 33 laps
2: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), +0.945s
3: Sam Bird (GBR), +5.762s
4: Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA), +6.554s
5: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), +12.238s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 3/14 races
1: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 54 p.
2: Sam Bird (GBR), 50 p.
3: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 43 p.
4: Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA), 25 p.
5: Edoardo Mortara (CHE), 24 p.