Jerome D’Ambrosio has taken victory in just his second race for Mahindra this season at the Marrakech E-Prix.
The Belgian driver survived a final lap charge after a late safety car to hold onto his first on-track victory in Formula E. The two Virgin cars of Robin Frijns and Sam Bird finished behind D’Ambrosio in second and third respectively.
However, there was no shortage of drama throughout the race. Pole-sitter Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne collided at the very first corner, causing Vergne to spin which produced problems for many drivers. While Vergne fell to the back, Sebastian Buemi and Pascal Wehrlein collided while trying to avoid Vergne, ultimately forcing Wehrlein to retire.
Bird remained in first but was passed shortly after by Antonio Felix Da Costa, who won the first race of the season at Ad Diriyah, and the other BMW of Alexander Sims. Bird continued to fall as the race edged past halfway, being passed by his team-mate Frijns and D’Ambrosio who managed to past both Virgin cars in the space of one lap.
The race-clinching move came with around 10 minutes to go, when Alexander Sims attempted to pass Da Costa for the race lead. However, a clumsy move lead to both drivers locking up heavily and Da Costa ran straight into the wall while Sims had to go off track. Sims slipped back into fourth behind D’Ambrosio and the two Virgin cars.
A long delay in recovering the stricken Da Costa meant the race boiled down to one last lap sprint, in which D’Ambrosio was able to hold on and claim victory ahead of Frijns and Bird.
Sims came home in fourth while two very good but anonymous recovery drives for Techeetah drivers’ Vergne and Andre Lotterer meant they finished fifth and sixth respectively.
Lucas Di Grassi finished in seventh while Buemi was able to recover to finish eighth. Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Audi’s Daniel Abt rounded out the top 10.