After a busy season of racing in 2017, the new year has started in very much similar fashion for Felix Rosenqvist. Heading into the Formula E Marrakesh E-Prix this weekend, the Swede arrives in the Moroccan city fresh from Daytona 24 Hours testing in Florida, yet fully recharged as he bids to build on his victory at last month’s season-opening Hong Kong round of the electric championship.
Race three of the 2017-18 Formula E campaign takes the field to north-western Africa, and the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan. The 2.9 km track, laid out in proximity of Marrakesh’s medina and renowned souks, was the scene of Rosenqvist’s breakthrough Formula E moment at the end of 2016, as he powered to pole position and finished third in only his second-ever Formula E event.
Returning to Marrakesh some 14 months later, the Mahindra Racing man has since established himself as one of the main frontrunners of the championship, holding third in the early 2017-18 standings after winning one of the two season-opening races last time out in Hong Kong.
“I’m really eager to get back on track in Marrakesh this weekend,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s a place of bright memories for me, and I still think that first Formula E pole remains one of my career highlights. We have come a long way since then in terms of the efficiency and understanding of our package, and we’ve had some encouraging findings in the simulator this week as well. It’s going to be about delivering the good laps when they’re needed, as always, and see how we go.”
Rosenqvist arrives in Marrakesh just days on from participating in the “Roar Before the 24” test at Daytona International Speedway, which will stage its famous 24-hour sportscar race at the end of the month with Rosenqvist among the contenders hoping to bid for outright victory.
“The Roar went pretty well, no dramas really,” Rosenqvist continues. “It was good experience for the race, but I’m now entirely focussed on the Marrakesh E-Prix and trying to pick up where we left off in Hong Kong. It’s a demanding track and just one race this weekend, so no way to make up for errors. The pressure will be on.”
Formula E, which announced a new title partner earlier this week in the shape of Swiss-Swedish industry giant ABB, is staging its first race of 2018 amid a highly interesting proposition in the championship standings. DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird leads the way on 35 points, with Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne second on 33 and Rosenqvist third on 29.
Mahindra Racing is currently leading the teams’ classification.
This weekend’s event marks the second running of the Marrakesh E-Prix, which made its debut on the calendar last season. Felix Rosenqvist duly holds the qualifying lap record at the venue courtesy of his pole effort.
The race takes place on Saturday.
All times local (GMT)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 3/14 | Marrakesh E-Prix
Saturday 13 January
Free Practice 1: 08.00-08.45
Free Practice 2: 10.30-11.00
Marrakesh E-Prix: 16.00 (33 laps)
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 2/14 races
1: Sam Bird (GBR), 35 p.
2: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 33 p.
3: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 29 p.
4: Edoardo Mortara (CHE), 24 p.
5: Mitch Evans (NZL), 15 p.
Circuit Intl. Automobile Moulay El Hassan
Length: 2.971 km
Qualy record: 1m21.509s (Felix Rosenqvist, ’16)
Lap record: 1m20.599s (Sébastien Buemi, ’16)