In a hard-fought race, Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa conquered his first race of the season, quickly becoming one of the strongest championship contenders.
In the fourth edition of the Marrakesh E-Prix, Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa started the race from P1 after a timing mistake cost Mitch Evans pole position –the Kiwi driver had to start the race from the back row of the grid.
The Portuguese driver had a clean start, closely followed by Santiago race winner Maximilian Guenther. Charging up from behind, Dutch driver Nyck de Vries quickly overtook Andre Lotterer to secure a P3 place in the early stages of the race.
Evans, who won the past Mexico E-Prix and started this race from P24, rapidly moved up some places aiming to enter the point-scoring positions as quickly as possible.
Marrakesh is a circuit where the Mahindra cars have always been lucky, having won two editions of it, while grabbing a podium finish in the inaugural 2016 race. However, d’Ambrosio and Wehrlein struggled to make it to the Top 10 soon after the race started, with the Belgian going on and off the P10 spot, and the German struggling some positions behind.
Things got complicated for third-runner de Vries, who dropped to the bottom of the standings as he was penalised for over-powering during regeneration. This means Lotterer recaptured his P3 spot.
Vergne massively progressed, passing former team-mate Lotterer for third place, charging up to also overtake second-runner Maximilian Guenther. A strong battle between Vergne and Lotterer happened shortly after, with the German passing the Frenchman to grab P3 once again.
And charging up from P2, Guenther was able to overtake da Costa on the outside and start to dominate the race. Would this be his second victory of the season?
But the fight for the lead of the race was not just between Guenther and da Costa. Porsche’s Lotterer and Techeetah’s Vergne were also in trying to grab the P1 spot from the young German. And it was da Costa who took the lead of the race from the BMW driver.
The battle between Vergne and Lotterer kept on, with the former teammates continuously switching places. The Frenchman, who was unable to take part on Friday’s FP1 session due to having flu, put in an exceptional performance which allowed him to keep close to the top 3 places for most of the race.
Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara also joined the Top 5 fight, as he overtook Lotterer and battled for a place within the podium finish as well; although the German was not hesitant to fight back.
Towards the end of the race, Vergne moved up to P2 overtaking an ever-strong Guenther, to make it a Techeetah 1-2 at the front.
Just with one lap to go, the scenery changed again. With the race still led by da Costa, followed by Vergne and Guenther, Buemi was able to move up to P4, with Mortara and Sims following suit. The Brit ultimately lost a lot of positions, finishing in P18.
Evans, who had a nightmare of a race start, was able to have a massive comeback. He saw the chequered flag in P6, ahead of di Grassi and Lotterer.
Just in the closing stages of the race, Guenther was able to recapture his P2 spot, finishing between the two Teechetahs in the race that had quite a lot of action at the front. The German continues to prove that he can battle in the fully-electric championship.
Da Costa takes home the win – his first of the season after two consecutive second-place finishes, while Teechetah is back to winning ways.