ROME E-PRIX: STOFFEL VANDOORNE SCORES POINTS AFTER A SOLID FIGHTBACK
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship was again marked by several dramatic twists on Saturday during the first of two races at the Rome E-Prix.
In a race that was characterised by a big accident, the 27-lap circuit was halted by a red flag on lap nine, following a spectacular crash at the front of the field. Stoffel Vandoorne, who started from 16th on the grid, and Jean-Éric Vergne – who got away from 16th – had to use all their skills to thread their DS E-TENSE FE23 machines through the maze of debris and stranded cars on track.
After a long neutralisation, the race was able to restart with Jean-Éric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne just outside the top 10. The two-time champion from France made consistent progress through the field to finish in the top five, thanks to some excellent moves and perfect energy management. As a result, he consolidated his fifth place in the championship.
Stoffel Vandoorne also managed to break into the top 10, before dropping two places at the end of the race and just missing out on points.
The second race of the Rome E-Prix took place this afternoon in temperatures of 38 degrees centigrade ambient with 60 degrees of track temperature. The main objective for the DS PENSKE drivers was to move up the field after a difficult qualifying, with Jean-Éric Vergne classified 12th and Stoffel Vandoorne down in 18th.
Vergne managed to fight his way into the top 10 by the second lap, but a spectacular incident at the front of the field would have repercussions all the way down the order, and the DS Automobiles brand ambassador damaged his front wing as the result of a contact that wasn’t his fault. Vergne had to come into the pits to change the front of the car, re-joining in 21st place. After several rapid laps with his DS E-TENSE FE23 – including the fastest lap of the race – he crossed the chequered flag in 17th place.
For his part, Stoffel Vandoorne was responsible for one of the most spectacular comebacks at the Rome E-Prix, going from 18th to an eventual eighth place at the finish. This allowed him to score some points and end the weekend on a positive note before heading to the championship finale. DS PENSKE maintains its provisional fifth place in the teams’ championship.
In just two weeks, Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship draws to a conclusion in London, which also features two races.
Eugenio Franzetti, DS Performance Director:
“We finish a long weekend in Rome with two races that were quite similar for us. Today was another difficult encounter, with a disappointing qualifying but a nice fightback in the actual race. Our grid positions once again influenced our race. If you start in the middle of the pack you’re in the thick of the fight with all the risks that entails. The day went badly for JEV, who damaged his car’s nose and had to come into the pits. Stoffel fought hard and put in a great fightback from 18th to eighth place. From now on, we’re just concentrated on London in order to end this intense season in the best possible way.”
Jean-Éric Vergne, 2018 and 2019 Formula E champion:
“That was a race to forget. I went to the inside of Rene Rast to pass him, but there was a crash in front and then everyone piled up. I was braking as late as possible to overtake and there was nothing at all I could do to avoid the contact. I had to come into the pits to change the front of the car, as it was too dangerous to carry on as it was. After that, it was a lonely race for me but at least we gathered some useful data for London, which should help to improve our performance.”
Stoffel Vandoorne, reigning Formula E champion:
“We scored some points, which I’m happy about. But on the whole, it has been a difficult weekend. We tried a few different things in qualifying, which didn’t achieve the result that we wanted. In the race it was a lot better though and we were able to have some good speed. I managed to get past several other drivers, we had a solid strategy, and we managed the energy well. Beyond just our eighth place, this race was very useful in terms of understanding our car. We were able to score points, but at the championship finale, we absolutely need to work on qualifying.”