Abt im Audi e-tron FE05 vor Atlas-Gebirge

“We’re back again” – Audi concludes difficult Marrakesh E-Prix race with a record

Formula E: Audi leaves Marrakesh with points and lap record

The Marrakesh E-Prix race had its ups and downs for the Formula E team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler. After a difficult start to the day, things got better as the race proceeded, with Nico Müller reaching his peak performance on Sunday...

Robin Frijns im Audi e-tron FE05
At the race in Marrakesh, the Audi customer team Envision Virgin Racing achieved a double podium with the Audi e-tron FE05.

It was clear it was going to be a tough race, because at the start of the Formula E season in mid-December in Saudi Arabia not everything went smoothly for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team either. Prior to the race in Marrakesh last Saturday, Audi driver Lucas di Grassi, the current team champion, announced that he wanted to “show a different face”. For large parts of the race he did manage to achieve this too. But a safety-car phase shortly before the end of the race threw his strategy out the window. In a free practice session early on Saturday morning, Robin Frijns showed that the Audi drivetrain was one of the strongest in Morocco. He clinched the first session victory of the day for the Audi customer team Envision Virgin Racing.

Daniel Abt starts with the fastest track time

Di Grassi, on the other hand, had a technical problem with the water pump of his Audi e-tron FE05. The team replaced the components in lightning speed before the qualifying round so that the Brazilian was then able to give full power again. In the qualifying round, Sam Bird succeeded in gaining the pole position in the second customer Audi. By contrast, Lucas di Grassi didn’t get off to a good start, even though starting eleventh on the grid was not a bad starting position for the race. Teammate Daniel Abt initially set the fastest time, but made a minor mistake in the second phase and lost time. In the end, Abt only managed a starting position of 16th on the grid. “I can only blame myself for this because I didn’t manage a good lap, although we were able to battle for the super poles,” Abt briefly explained after the qualifying round.

Abt in e-tron FE05 #66
During qualifying, Daniel Abt had some trouble and therefore began the race on position 16.

Safety-car phase spoils strategy after a sensational start to race

In the race itself, however, Audi suddenly appeared to be doing really well, as both drivers got off to an excellent start. Di Grassi benefited from the turmoil on the first bend – there had been a spin at the front – and he moved ahead five positions on the first lap. Abt even moved up seven places. Towards the middle of the race di Grassi fought with Jerome d’Ambrosio, who finally won the race, for third place. And so, the Brazilian had to admit defeat.

Lucas di Grassi auf Aufholjagd

Lucas di Grassi during a thrilling pursuit race – however, Jerome d'Ambrosio was the one to take home the win (the race car on the right side).

Di Grassi manages fastest lap

Di Grassi sensed his chances in the last laps, but this hope was dashed by a safety car phase just ten minutes before the end. “After catching up I was nearly in the lead, but the safety car phase basically ruined our strategy. This was a crazy race.” In the end, we “only” made 7th place and managed the fastest lap with di Grassi. Under slightly different circumstances, it might even have been possible to win the race. “We’re definitely back on track,” the champion of the third Formula E season summed up.

Tenth place for Daniel Abt

Daniel Abt had to make do with one point and tenth place, although in the first part of the race things had gone well for the man from Kempten. “I was already seventh and was close to the leading group. But after going into “attack mode” for the first time, I suddenly ran out of steam. We’ll have to analyze why,” Abt explained after the race had ended.

Lucas di Grassi im e-tron FE05 bei Sonnenaufgang

Managing the fastest race lap, Lucas di Grassi finished on position 7.

Nico Müller breaks another lap record

Audi started the analysis on Sunday, as the Formula E rookie test was still on the agenda immediately after the Marrakesh E-Prix. Only those drivers were allowed to take part who had not yet completed an official session in the electric series.

Nico Müller im Audi e-tron FE05
Nico Müller set a new race record during the Formula E rookie test in Marrakesh.

Audi relied on the help of test driver Nico Müller and also put DTM driver Jamie Green in the car for the first time. In two three-hour sessions, both collected a vast amount of data and optimized the car’s fine-tuning. Müller emphasized that the test day had been very successful for Audi both in the morning and in the afternoon with each session ending in a best time. In the afternoon, the Swiss test driver even broke the absolute Marrakesh track record set by Jaguar driver Mitch Evans the day before. Müller had already accomplished in the same feat in the same location during the test drive a year ago.

January 26 in Santiago de Chile

Although the results in Marrakesh still leave room for improvement, Audi had the fastest car in terms of pace on the weekend. The next Formula E race is already on January 26 in Santiago de Chile. Audi plans to show a strong performance then.

Successful start into the 2019 motor sport year

During the Formula E race in Marrakesh, all four Audi e-tron FE05 made it to the points. Aside from positions two, three, seven and ten, the additional points for the pole position and the fastest race leap went to the Audi team.

Allan McNish, Team Principal of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler after the race:
Just like at last year's race in Marrakesh, Nico Müller scored the fastest race leap during the rookie test.
Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt undertook a special challenge at the famous market place Jemaa el-Fnaa: buying a hat, a basket and shoes for as little money as possible.
Challenge accepted: Lucas di Grassi on the lookout for cheap utensils. 
The proud winner: Daniel Abt.

Allan McNish, Team Principal of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler after the race: "The most important finding for us is that the Audi e-tron FE05 has the pace. We’re happy to see two Audi cars finish on the podium here, but now we are making sure that the sun is shining on our factory team in Santiago."

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Just like at last year's race in Marrakesh, Nico Müller scored the fastest race leap during the rookie test.

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Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt undertook a special challenge at the famous market place Jemaa el-Fnaa: buying a hat, a basket and shoes for as little money as possible.

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Challenge accepted: Lucas di Grassi on the lookout for cheap utensils. 

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The proud winner: Daniel Abt.

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Formula E, Marrakesh E-Prix 2019
Audi MediaCenter

Formula E: double podium for the Audi e-tron FE05

Courtesy of customer team Envision Virgin Racing, Audi became the first manufacturer to achieve a double podium with the new generation of Formula E race cars. In the second round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Marrakesh (Morocco), all four Audi e-tron FE05 cars finished in the points. In addition to positions two, three, seven and ten, the extra points for pole position and the fastest race lap also went to the Audi e-tron FE05.

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