Strong qualifying – disappointing race: The start to season 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team was not crowned with success. Scoring eleventh place with his No. 94 Porsche 99X Electric at the Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia, Pascal Wehrlein (GER) narrowly missed out on earning points. His teammate André Lotterer (GER) took the flag in P13 with the No. 36 car.
First race of the Formula E weekend in Diriyah
After a strong qualifying performance, André Lotterer started the night race on the 2.495-kilometre racetrack near the capital Riyadh from the fourth grid spot. The fight for pole position was held for the first time in a new format with gripping one-on-one duels. At the wheel of his Porsche 99X Electric, he made it into the semifinals.
In the race, where the Porsche Taycan Turbo S made its debut as the new Formula E safety car, Lotterer maintained the pace of the frontrunners over the entire distance. With a boost from his second attack mode, he progressed up the order to third place. In the final phase of the race, however, he lost contact with his rivals and fell behind. Pascal Wehrlein began the race from P10 and managed to progress to eighth place for a while. Ultimately, he also finished outside the points rankings.
Comments on the Diriyah E-Prix, Race 1
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E: “André did very well in qualifying. It’s just a shame that Pascal didn’t make it into the duels as well. Our pace was good early on in the race but then both cars ran out of energy. We’ll now look at how we miscalculated that after the safety car phase and then we’ll do better tomorrow.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “Overall a difficult day. We definitely expected more but the pace wasn’t really strong in the race. It was more about defending our position than attacking. Now we need to put our heads together and see what we can do. That’s the good thing about a doubleheader – we get another chance tomorrow.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36):“A disappointing race. We had big plans, especially after the good qualifying performance. I started from the second row on the grid and even managed to advance up to third place. The car felt good but in the final spurt I suddenly experienced problems with the energy management and lost ground.”
In the second night race at the season-opener of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, Porsche narrowly missed out on claiming its first podium result.
At the wheel of the No. 36 Porsche 99X Electric, André Lotterer secured a strong fourth place for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. Finishing ninth in the No. 94 car, Pascal Wehrlein also earned world championship points. After an accident towards the end, the race finished behind the new Formula E safety car, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
2nd race of the Formula E Weekend in Diriyah
Thanks to a good qualifying performance, André Lotterer started the race from the fifth grid spot, on the 2.495-kilometre racetrack near the capital Riyadh. In his Porsche 99X Electric, André drove with the leading pack over the entire distance, advanced to fourth place in the final spurt and thus laid the foundation for a podium finish.
However, with just several minutes of racing left, a competitor’s accident saw the Porsche Taycan Turbo S safety car deployed, thwarting Lotterer’s chance of making a decisive move. The race was not restarted. Pascal Wehrlein took off from P11 and drove a solid race up to the ninth place.
Comments on the Diriyah E-Prix, Race 2
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E: “The team worked hard during the night to sort out the issues from race 1. They did a great job. Pascal impressed with a top time in the third free practice session and André again secured a good grid spot in qualifying. But then the safety car threw a spanner in the works. Still, it was a great turnaround after the hard yards we suffered yesterday.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “Though we earned important points for fourth place, I’m leaving Diriyah with mixed feelings. A podium result would have been possible today. After the experiences from race 1, I tried to be a bit more conservative with the energy. I was overtaken by two cars but still managed to establish a good position for the final phase. Still, fourth is a good result and it makes us confident for the next race in Mexico.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “After my top time in the last free practice, I’d expected a bit more in qualifying. But the track conditions change quickly here and somehow we didn’t manage to adapt well enough. My pace was good in the race, but the safety car at the end prevented me from overtaking. Still, we learned a lot this weekend and I’m confident that we can show our full potential in Mexico.”
The next race for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is on 12 February with the Mexico City E-Prix, the 3rd round of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
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Edited Porsche Factory Press Release
Pictures courtesy Porsche AG