Edoardo Mortara hit the top of the ABB Formula E World Championship with victory in the Marrakesh E-Prix as the ROKiT Venturi Racing driver fended off severe pressure from DS Techeetah teammates António Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne throughout.
Da Costa started on pole and after falling behind Mortara during the early duo of Attack Mode activations, he clung to the back of the Swiss’ car as the race reached its climax. But the Season 6 champion couldn’t make it past the ROKiT Venturi Racing driver who looked utterly unflustered on the way to the top step and his third win of the season, as well as the standings lead.
“After Free Practice 2, we had a lot of issues and I was not thinking we could turn this thing around, but I have an incredible team behind me and they managed to do an incredible job in quali,” said Mortara. “Then during the race, they had a plan, they had a strategy, we executed it and it was perfect.
“You have the guys putting you under a lot of pressure. I was trying to be intelligent, trying to manage. There was a lot to manage today — tires obviously, but also battery temperatures, energy. It was very difficult. I had some issues with the car today, I was a little bit by myself let’s say, but we did that and I’m extremely happy.”
Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne was top of the drivers’ standings going into the race but a braking glitch in qualifying left him down in 20th on the grid. He recovered to finish eighth but with just four points on the day, Mortara moved to the top of the board.
Vergne had found himself in second heading into the closing stages with two percent of usable energy available before he slipped back behind da Costa to an eventual fourth position. Fellow title challenger Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) fought from sixth on the grid to the podium with a final lap lunge on Vergne for silverware and a handful of extra, crucial championship points.
In the 91-degree F heat, drivers and engineers elected to jump early for their two mandatory Attack Mode boosts with the school of thought being that it would be more efficient and effective in the long run to ply that extra 30kW through the batteries and powertrain. In the mix was Lucas di Grassi (ROKiT Venturi Racing), who battled to fifth and vital points for the Monegasque team, which now leads the teams’ championship.
Reigning Formula E champion Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) climbed to sixth while Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) settled for seventh. Vandoorne did make up an impressive 12 spots to finish eighth in the end after his qualifying disappointment. Sam Bird wound up ninth for Jaguar TCS Racing, and Oliver Rowland — who ran as high as second spot early on — rounded out the points-paying positions in 10th.
Mortara now holds an 11-point championship lead, with Vergne second and Vandoorne third. Evans finds himself just 15 points shy of Mortara, with the top four breaking well-clear of the chasing pack to set up a four-driver shootout over the final six races.
Next time out is the New York City E-Prix doubleheader on July 16-17 on the streets of the Red Hook district of Brooklyn.