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F-E First Race: Diriyah - Mahindra and Venturi updating

MAHINDRA Racing Team
Season Six of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship got underway this weekend with a double-header for the 2019/20 season opener in the race track of Diriyah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For the second season running in line, Mahindra Racing’s drivers consist of Jérôme D’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein's.
Friday saw Jérôme score a Super Pole appearance in the opening race of the season, securing a third row start from sixth on the grid for the afternoon’s race, whilst Pascal lined up in thirteenth place. It was a race of mixed fortunes with both drivers making up places, but also dropping down through the field. The checkered flag eventually fell with Jérôme in P9, collecting two championship points, and Pascal finishing just out of the points in P11.
Saturday saw both drivers head out in group two for qualifying. Jérôme headed into Super Pole for the second race in a row and posted the fifth quickest time, but was later promoted to fourth on the grid after Mitch Evans received a penalty. Pascal had another challenging qualifying session and posted the fourteenth quickest time, but with Jean-Eric Vergne’s penalty he lined up thirteenth for race two.

Unfortunately, Jérôme’s race was over before it began as a technical issue meant he was unable to start the race. Pascal had a strong start to the race and was up to P9 by lap 32 +1 lap, however an incident on track a few laps later left him with damage and an unplanned front wing change. Pascal was classified P15.

Venturi Rokit Racing Team
Completing their qualifying runs, Edo Mortara secured P8 on the grid with Felipe P16 – the latter eventually promoted to P15 on the grid after a penalty for Jean-Eric Vergne. Another strong start for both drivers saw Edo advance to P7, while Felipe moved up to P13 by the end of the opening lap.
After encountering an issue when activating Attack Mode, Edo was overtaken by Maximilian Gunther and Stoffel Vandoorne. But the Swiss driver bounced back in typical fashion – staying in the fight for the final podium position throughout the race to take P5 at the chequered flag. A penalty for Maximilian Gunther left a final result of P4 for Edo adding 12 valuable points to the team championship tally.
Following his strong start, Felipe continued to advance through the field – running as high as P7 amidst a number of incidents including two Safety Car periods and one Full Course Yellow phase – before a pair of penalties halted his progress. The Brazilian would eventually claim P18 in the final classification.
Susie Wolff, Venturi's Team Principal: “This was another positive race for us. It was a shame that Edo had issues with Attack Mode activation, ultimately, these issues cost him a podium today. After a great start to the race, it was heart-breaking for Felipe with a simple mistake removing our chances of a double top-eight finish. But we have a good package so it’s an encouraging start to the season for us. We will learn from this weekend and come back stronger in Santiago.”
Felipe Massa: “We made a strong start to today’s race and had good pace, getting the right energy in the car. I was in seventh when I got a message on the radio to say that I had a penalty for being out of position on the grid. I could not believe it and my race got worse from there. Our pace at this stage of the season is very encouraging though and I look forward to racing in Santiago.”

The second round of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship will take place on 18 January 2020 in Santiago, Chile.    

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