Jerome D’Ambrosio sprinted to victory in a dramatic last lap dash to the finish in Marrakesh, after a late safety car bunched-up the pack following a collision between BMW i Andretti Motorsport pairing Antonio Felix da Costa and Alexander Sims.
Kiwi Mitch Evans has finished ninth. With a top five starting spot, turn one on the opening lap saw drama from the outset as Jean-Eric Vergne spun after contact with Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird. Several of the front running cars, including Evans, had to take avoiding action, dropping down the order.
Despite picking-up his third victory in Formula E, it’s the first time D’Ambrosio has actually stood on the top step of the podium – having benefitted from a post-race disqualification on both previous occasions.
The win marks his first win since the Mexico City E-Prix in 2016 – and his first in MAHINDRA RACING colours. D’Ambrosio started down the field in 10th, but steadily progressed up the ranks to find himself sat behind the leading BMW duo.
With less than 10-minutes left on the countdown clock, Da Costa and Sims looked set to bring home a one-two for the team – topping off a perfect start to the season after a win last time out in Ad Diriyah.
However, it wasn’t to be – as a moment of madness cost the team a large points haul. Sims – who was on the tail of his team-mate for the duration of the race – pulled alongside Da Costa into the braking zone of Turn 7 in an attempt to snatch the lead.
Both drivers locked-up and touched with neither making the corner. The coming together and slow recovery back to the racing line dropped Sims to fourth. But Da Costa came off worse with his race ending parked-up in the run-off area after contact with the barrier.
With the cars lined-up in close formation, the safety car pulled in as the clock hit zero – leaving one lap to the chequered flag. Running wide over the kerb in the final corner – D’Ambrosio gave the fans a grandstand finish with Robin Frijns chasing him to the line.
Frijns was joined on the podium by Envision Virgin Racing team-mate Sam Bird, who started on Julius Baer pole position and tangled with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne on the run down to Turn 1.
Vergne lined-up on the front row alongside Bird and made an ambitious dive up the inside through the long left-hander. The pair made contact and Vergne was sent spinning ahead of a flurry of oncoming traffic. From last, Vergne valiantly fought back to fifth.
Adrenaline still flowing after an exhilarating race, there’s not long to wait for another episode of electric street racing with the Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix on January 26 – round three of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
1 Jerome D’Ambrosio MAHINDRA RACING 46:45.884s -25
2 Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing +0.143s -18
3 Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing +0.461s -18
4 Alexander Sims BMW i Andretti Motorsport +0.740s -12
5 Jean-Eric Vergne DS TECHEETAH +1.232s -10
6 Andre Lotterer DS TECHEETAH +1.457s -8
7 Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +1.633s -7
8 Sebastien Buemi Nissan e.dams +2.455s -4
9 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing +2.980s -2
10 Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler +4.014s -1
11 Jose Maria Lopez GEOX DRAGON +4.528s
12 Maximilian Gunther GEOX DRAGON +6.034s
13 Edoardo Mortara VENTURI Formula E Team +6.790s
14 Nelson Piquet Jr. Panasonic Jaguar Racing +6.833s
15 Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams +7.529s
16 Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team +9.241s
17 Tom Dillmann NIO Formula E Team +9.665s
18 Felipe Massa VENTURI Formula E Team +10.250s
DNF Antonio Felix da Costa BMW i Andretti Motorsport 25 Laps
DNF Gary Paffett HWA RACELAB 3 Laps
DNF Pascal Wehrlein MAHINDRA RACING 1 Lap
DNF Stoffel Vandoorne HWA RACELAB 1 Lap