Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist stamped an early authority on the ABB FIA Formula E Championship standings after overcoming Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi in a reversal of last season’s encounter at the Marrakesh ePrix.
Pole-sitter Buemi led the opening exchanges from DS Virgin’s Sam Bird and Rosenqvist, but a slow in-lap from Bird allowed the Swede to leapfrog into second, and after the pit stops he duly closed Buemi’s 1.6 second lead and relieved him of the victory in the closing laps.
Inaugural series champion Nelson Piquet Jr. matched his season-best finish for Panasonic Jaguar Racing in fourth, edging clear of Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
Rosenqvist’s team-mate Nick Heidfeld came through to take the chequered flag in seventh, with debutante Tom Blomqvist eighth on his series debut for Andretti.
Alex Lynn (DS Virgin) took ninth, with Daniel Abt rounding out the points in tenth as the highest-placed of Audi’s works duo, after another torrid weekend for reigning champion Lucas di Grassi left him with a mountain still to climb to defend his title.
The championship moves next to Santiago in Chile for the third meeting of Season Four.
“At one point in the day I was going to be settling somewhere in the middle of the mid-field after practice as we were struggling a lot,” admitted race winner Rosenqvist.
“We then made some analysis and in qualifying we found out how to work the tyres properly, so that was a really good comeback before the race.
“I was told I had to change my battery thirty-minutes before jumping in the car before the grid, so I was praying that my second car would be ready. Big thanks to the Mahindra guys.
“I think I was a little bit lucky with Lucas dropping out of the race quite early on, and obviously Sam had a problem with his car on the main straight as well. I tried to keep calm and look at my energy, because this race wasn’t really about the temperature but more about energy, and when the moment was right I went for it – super happy!”
“ I was annoyed, I didn’t properly move over to the inside and he managed to pass me, otherwise I would’ve closed the door a bit better, so I don’t know what happened,” said runner-up Buemi.
“He had a little more pace and he deserved the win, so I don’t really think second is bad, but a big disappointment when you lead for most of the race.”