Both DS Techeetah cars drove phenomenally with a double podium in Marrakesh. Seeing Da Costa unchallenged up front and Vergne climbing the grid despite less practice meant they were rewarded with First and Third.
At lights out for Round 6, we saw Da Costa flying away and securing his immediate lead for the E-Prix. Behind him, many cars gained and lost places before the race began to settle. We saw Mortara move ahead of D’Ambrosio who had climbed up from 7th and De Vries steal 3rd place from Lotterer within the first 2 minutes of the race. Both Panasonic Jaguar Racing team cars had managed to gain two places to see if they could get any points and keep their Team Championship Standings top spot.
Gunther is determined to equal his success from Round 3 and win the race so he began closing in behind E-Prix race leader but could not find a way passed. With 40 minutes remaining, Vergne began to the climb the pack and overtook Calado. The first penalty of the race was then announced, explaining that De Vries was to serve a Drive Through Penalty for Overpowering during Regen. Lotterer was also called under investigation for possibly leaving the track at Turn 5 but no further action was required. The race then slowed doen as everyone began biding their time for all the attacks to appear later.
At 35 minutes remaining, D’Ambrosio was the first to use Attack Mode out of the pack. Mercedes-Benz EQ had been having a tough weekend with previous championship leader, Vandoorne, not finding the pace and starting18th. Things went from bad to worse as De Vries, running in 3rd, took his DTP and dropped 20 places to down the bottom of the grid. Where Mercedes were failing, Evans and Vergne were gaining as Evans moved into 18th and Vergne slotted in to 6th position. The fight at the top continued with Da Costa and Gunther taking Attack Mode at the same time to try and overtake or defend for their life.
Vergne had moved up 5 places during the start of the race and decided, despite not feeling 100%, he could gain some more as he stole 5th from Buemi whilst in Attack Mode and then goes wheel to wheel with Mortara. Mortara then concedes 4th place to Vergne and even starts closing in 3rd place Lotterer. By now, Da Costa had a huge lead over the grid and could be seen flying around the track. Lotterer then went for Attack Mode to defend his position but fell victim off the racing line as Vergne breezes past. Then, with the extra power, Lotterer regains 2nd from the Frenchman.
Still running in 2nd place, Gunther made the decision to fight for 1st as he goes side by side with Da Costa but could not find any way through. Then, on the next corner, Gunther drives round the outside to get ahead of the DS Techeetah with 24 minutes remaining. Da Costa then plans his revenge by going for Attack Mode and, unlike Lotterer, does not lose his spot and shortly after, cruises past Gunther to retake the lead. Vergne then decides to improve his luck further and gets into the podium positions by stealing that 3rd place. We then heard that Wehrlein had a puncture and has fallen back to P23 by having to go to the pits.
Evans had managed to get his way up to 11th all the way from the back of the grid, even passing his teammate. Di Grassi and Rowland also gave us a nail biting scrap as they almost touch after Di Grassi tries to pass with Fanboost. Rowland manages to keep his position. With just 10 minutes remaining, Vergne managed to pass Gunther and making it a 1-2 for Ds Techeetah at the front of the race. Gunther began fighting as hard as he could to try and get back pass Vergne for 2nd place. On lap 32, Gunther had made his way right behind him and goes for a big lunge. Despite Vergne locking up, he kept his place and on the very last lap, Gunther flew past him due to the DS Techeetah running dangerously low on battery.
Whilst this was going on Da Costa was seen shooting over the finish line and taking the win of the Marrakesh E-Prix. The Portuguese driver had dominated from start to finish with little threat. Gunther managed to win 2nd place and Vergne came home in 3rd. This was a huge result for DS Techeetah as they go to the top of the Team Championship with 98 points. Da Costa moves up to first place in the Driver Standings on 67 points (11 points clear of 2nd) and Vergne moves up to 8th. Amazingly, Evans who started all the way at the back due to his Qualifying disaster, finished in the points in 6th place and only drops to 2nd in the Driver’s Championship. This race very nearly went without any non-fnishes and BBC Commentator, Jack Nicholls, mentioned that people on Twitter had picked up on no yellow flags during the race but right at the end, Alexander Sims came to a halt and lost out on his 5th place.
Da Costa was congratulated by Dario Franchitti via radio link. Da Costa replied by saying “I had to play a strategy card in the middle of the race, we had a plan all studied and it all worked out, we’re back!”. Da Costa was heard saying how happy he was for this first win for him in his new team.
Check back with Overtake Motorsport for Round 6 which is in Italy. We take quite a long break from Formula E now as it returns on Saturday 4th April but we will be bringing you Qualifying, the E-Prix report and live tweeting for the event. See you soon!
Feature Image Credit: DS Techeetah Twitter page