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.
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
.@thereal_JDA and @MahindraRacing win the 2019 #MarrakeshEPrix! ? ?? pic.twitter.com/4xWB3unFwP
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 12, 2019
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.
Statement from @BMWMotorsport Director Jens Marquardt and BMW i Andretti Motorsport. #FormulaE #RacingBeyond #MarrakeshEPrix pic.twitter.com/Medvk5qc1m
— Andretti Autosport (@FollowAndretti) January 12, 2019
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. Bird started on 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. The Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix is on January 26. It is round three of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.