D'Ambrosio scores shock Marrakesh win as leading BMW pair collide
Mahindra’s Jerome d’Ambrosio scored his first Formula E victory for almost three years after an astonishing incident resulted in both BMW i Andretti cars colliding whilst running one-two late in the race.
Antonio Felix da Costa looked on course for a second consecutive win after reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne spun at turn one and fell to the back of the field after starting from second.
Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird took advantage of Vergne’s lap one mishap to grab the lead, and the Brit led the early stages of the race before falling back as the BMW cars took control.
On lap 10 of 31, da Costa and teammate Alex Sims were both able to pass Bird, and from there on they looked in complete control as they gradually extended their lead to beyond four seconds.
With less than 10 minutes remaining on the click, Sims first appeared to lock up approaching turn 7, but as da Costa also locked up a shortly after, he was unable to take the corner and had no way of avoiding Sims.
Da Costa was immediately eliminated and a safety car was called to recover his stricken car, while d’Ambrosio, who had started the race from 10th place, stormed into the lead with the Virgin pair of Robin Frijns and polesitter Bird both able to pass Sims.
The safety car was called in with a lap to go, but d’Ambrosio clung on to take a memorable first win for Mahindra in only his second race for the team since joining from Dragon.
Frijns and Bird scored a fortuitous double podium finish for Virgin after leaving the opening race in Ad Diriyah disappointed and pointless.
Sims recovered from his collision with Da Costa to take fourth and almost grabbed the last podium spot after starting the final lap as the only frontrunner with Attack Mode activated.
Despite his first lap spin, Vergne drove a superb race to demonstrate that Techeetah’s pace in the opening race was real. The Frenchman stormed through the field to finish fifth after falling to the rear of the field on lap one.
Vergne’s teammate Lotterer also put in a strong drive to salvage sixth from his 20th place starting spot.
Audi recovered well from its disappointing qualifying performance as Lucas Di Grassi survived first lap contact with Formula E debutant Pascal Wehrlein to finish in seventh place, while Daniel Abt climbed from sixteenth on the grid to finish tenth after picking up several places in the opening laps.
Sebastien Buemi fell back from his third place starting position after being caught in the aftermath of Vergne’s lap one spin but was unable to recover and finished the race down in eighth place.
Evans was another to lose out during the first lap chaos, and the Kiwi ended the race in ninth place after starting from fifth.
Dragon driver Jose Maria Lopez looked on course for a strong points finish and ran in the top eight for much of the first half of the race before falling away toward the end and crossing the line in 11th place.
Both HWA drivers were eliminated early on in the race after colliding on the first lap, while debutant Wehrlein was unable to continue after impact from di Grassi.
Championship leader da Costa was the only other retirement after his collision with teammate Sims.
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