This weekend Porsche participated in the 5th and 6th rounds of the 2021 Formula E season, which took place on a real permanent circuit at a modified version of the Valencia Grand Prix track. It was an up and down state of affairs this weekend, to be quite honest. The team had an absolutely abysmal Saturday race, scoring zero points for the first time in this season, but on Sunday Andre Lotterer scored a resurgent second place on the podium in his Porsche 99X Electric race car. Here’s how it all went down.
In a race overshadowed by a last lap kerfuffle that saw only about 10 percent of the grid actually finish the race with energy to spare in an abysmal wet weather race and Mercedes play the lap strategy points perfect, Porsche suffered a double failure with both cars retiring from the race.
Andre Lotterer barely missed out on the pole position for the race in qualifying, as just two hundredths of a second separated him from first position. On the first lap as he negotiated the chicane, Lotterer went too deep under braking, slamming hard into Nissan’s Sebastien Buemi. While he did manage to get his car moving again, and was still quick despite the damage, a penalty shifted him to the back of the grid. After finding some more pace and starting to make his way back through the field, Lotterer again came into contact with a competitor, this time getting shifted off into the gravel trap and ending his race.
Porsche’s other car, with Pascal Wehrlein at the helm, started the race from tenth on the grid, not a great starting position for the German brand. After running a fairly solid race in the top half for much of the E Prix, and working his way up to 6th, Wehrlein suffered an issue with his braking system which dropped him down the order quickly, and ultimately he was forced to pit for safety concerns.
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E, on race 5 performance: “A contact shortly after the start and a technical problem with the brakes cost us important points today. We did well in terms of pace and energy. With about five minutes left on the clock, both cars experienced technical problems with the brakes. It was a difficult race for us. We have to take a very close look at the details then we’ll be back to attack on Sunday.”
From its worst result of the season to its best result of the season in just one day’s time is about as good of a turnaround as Porsche could have expected in Formula E. While Pascal Wehlein failed to score any points yet again, it was Andre Lotterer deep into the points fighting for a podium place and ultimately finishing second overall.
Lotterer set a blisteringly quick pace in qualifying yet again ahead of a dry Round 6 race from Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo. While he set a time quick enough to start in second position, he was handed an additional penalty of three grid places due to the prior day’s collision with Buemi. During a hectic start, Lotterer opted for a more conservative approach and lost a few places as a result. Putting everything from the prior day behind him, Andre managed to slowly pick his way through the pack back up to third on the track. When a competitor was handed a 5-second penalty for causing a collision of their own, he was moved up into second.
Wehrlein, meanwhile, qualified no higher than 12th on the grid, drove an uneventful race, and finished 18th of 24 racers.
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36), on race 6 performance: “I’m thrilled with my podium placing. My first points at last. As a team, we deserved this result. We all work hard. Today we underlined that we can deliver a top performance even on a track that is somewhat atypical for Formula E. We’ve always been fast over one lap this season. This time we proved that we’re also efficient in energy management in the race. I really hope that we’ve now made a breakthrough.”
The Monaco E Prix will go down in just two weeks time, and you definitely won’t want to miss that one.