DS Techeetah driver Antonio Felix da Costa dominated the ABB Formula E Championship field to win in Marrakesh, outlasting challenges from BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Max Guenther and da Costa’s teammate Jean-Eric Vergne.
Poleman da Costa led the way at the start, followed closely by the man who replaced him at BMW — Guenther — and Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Nyck de Vries in third.
Starting from 11th after losing time in practice due to illness, reigning series champion and DS Techeetah driver Vergne moved up the order to seventh, desperate to kick-start a third straight championship title charge.
His cause was helped when de Vries dropped from third to the back while serving a drive-through penalty for being overpowered while regenerating energy. Vergne moved into third by slipping past his former teammate Andre Lotterer, now driving for TAG Heuer Porsche, half an hour into the race.
Battling hard for the lead, Guenther and da Costa once again found themselves engaged in close-combat, wheel-to-wheel racing that was reminiscent of the race in Santiago only a few weeks before.
With 19 minutes remaining, Guenther slipped into the lead before da Costa went through the Attack Mode power boost activation zone, reclaiming his lead with the added 35kW.
Vergne then made a move of his own on Guenther for second, taking the German driver on the inside of Turn 1 and moving into second behind his teammate with six minutes and one lap left of the race. Vergne fended off a number of attacks from Guenther, costing him precious energy, before having to let the BMW driver past.
But the fight had depleted Guenther, too, who was unable to mount a challenge to the leading DS Techeetah, and da Costa cruised home to the team’s first win of the season.
“The race was actually much harder than it looked. I had to be very brave and clever when making any moves,” said da Costa. “At one point, I had to let Max get really close and push him into using extra energy, while with the second Attack Mode I was preventing Andre (Lotterer) from getting within touching distance. In the end it worked out perfectly!”
Despite starting from the back of the grid after failing to set a qualifying time, Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver and championship leader Mitch Evans managed to climb 18 places by the finish, placing sixth. He trailed home Nissan e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi and Rokit Venturi’s Eduardo Mortara in fourth and fifth, respectively.