The highs and lows of motorsport are evident in Porsche’s experience with the Mexico City E-Prix on Saturday. From the high of a pole position to start the race to the lows of one DNF and one penalty for a ‘technical infringement’ forcing another double non-points weekend for Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani. The 99X Electric really shows promise as a fast car in the series, but the team seems to be experiencing some hellaciously bad luck lately. On to the next one, eh?
📺Triumph and drama right next to each other – that is a proper life in motorsports for you to see in our #MexicoCityEPrix video recap. Watch it right here now ⬇️#TAGHeuerPorsche #PorscheFormulaE #ABBFormulaE #startfromzero #season6 @TAGHeuer @Andre_Lotterer @neeljani pic.twitter.com/ZW6yGVdMvZ
— TAG Heuer Porsche FE Team (@PorscheFormulaE) February 16, 2020
The fourth race of the Formula E season started strong for Porsche with Andre Lotterer recording an impressive fast lap in Super Pole qualifying, balancing speed with downforce to produce a great run. That Porsche can produce a brand new car with the power to set a pole position in just the fourth round of a new effort is mighty impressive in its own right. Neel Jani didn’t make the Super Pole segment of qualifying, only managing a time good enough for 14th. But then, the race happened.
Lotterer got away from the start a little slower than he expected, battling a bit of wheelspin when the lights went out. Jaguar’s Mitch Evans threw a flyer down the inside at turn one, shoving Lotterer wide. Just a few laps later in a tussle to gain back those lost positions, Lotterer got shoved into the wall, breaking his car’s nose-cone and wrapping the rear suspension in a banner ripped clear of the barriers. He was forced to retire. In just ten laps or so Lotterer went from the proverbial hero to zero.
Jani, meanwhile, started from 14th on the grid and moved up a couple of positions in the opening phase of the race. Following a short safety car period, Jani got popped for a throttle mapping infraction on the re-start. He was awarded a drive-through penalty for the non-homologated throttle input, and that completely scrubbed his race efforts. At least this time he finished the race, but dead last with no points.
Lotterer scored three points for grabbing his Super Pole.
Reactions to the Santiago E-Prix
Amiel Lindesay (Head of Operations Formula E): “That was another tough race for us. André was repeatedly involved in battles that severely damaged the car. We eventually had to withdraw the car from the race. A drive-through penalty was imposed on Neel after the safety car period. We will have to analyse the precise reason for this. Of course, we are disappointed with how the race went but we need to focus on the positive aspects of this weekend. The pole position and the pace of both drivers shows that we are really competitive.”
Neel Jani (Porsche 99X Electric, #18): “The start went well, even though I was on the dirty side of the track. After that, I was involved in a lot of battles and kept getting hit from in front and from behind. It’s a shame that I was later subjected to a drive-through penalty. Had that not been the case, a better result would certainly have been possible. I am happy that I was able to finish the race and gain some more experience. André’s pole position showed what the car is capable of. That gives us confidence for Marrakesh.”
André Lotterer (Porsche 99X Electric, #36): “Of course, that is not the result I had hoped for. I struggled with wheelspin at the start and then Mitch (Evans) hit me on the first corner. That lost me a few places. It was a tough race with plenty of incidents. After so many collisions, my car was so badly damaged that I had to retire. I will go back on the attack in Marrakesh.”