Turning the Tide in Chile: Five Fast Facts from the 2019 Santiago E-Prix
Posted on: 29 January, 2019
It was an action-packed race on Saturday, as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship went green in the Americas for the first time this season. Santiago, the largest city in Chile, was the host for the third race of this season. The popularity of last season’s Santiago E-Prix brought the carnival to town once again, with the race now taking place at the lush O’Higgins Park.
In qualifying, Jérôme went out in the first qualifying group and fell victim to the evolving track, which improved with each group session. Heading out in group four, by the time Pascal set his group qualifying lap, the track had a lot of grip and heat when he took his shot. This, combined with an impeccable performance flew him into Super Pole and, in the race, Pascal fought his way to a remarkable maiden Formula E podium!
The champagne must have tasted sweeter for Pascal after he endured the agonizing heat and landed his first podium in the series. A tough race nonetheless saw Jérôme finishing 10th, gaining ten places from his starting position, and maintaining his 100% points scoring record this season. Here are five things that we learnt from the thrilling Santiago E-Prix:
Talent makes up for an experience deficit
In Marrakesh, Pascal Wehrlein’s debut Formula E race was cruelly cut short because of damages sustained to the car by another driver hitting him from behind before he had even reached the first corner. This meant that the 2015 DTM Champion headed to the Chilean capital with no Formula E race experience. This would have been a major hindrance for any normal racing driver, but Pascal proved his mettle. His talent made up for the previous lack of track time, with the German driving to a fantastic second place finish after making his way into Super Pole and qualifying second earlier in the day.
Jérôme continues his 100% points scoring record…
Known for his incredible consistency, Jérôme D’Ambrosio showed us exactly why he has attained such a reputation. Historically, Santiago hasn’t been kind to Jérôme. However, the Marrakesh race winner quietly made his way ahead from starting in P20 to finish in P10, maintaining his strong 100% points scoring record in the 2018/19 Formula E Season. Although a podium wasn’t meant to be for Jérôme this time, he still maintains a strong position in second in the driver’s championship standings.
And Mahindra Racing continues its 100% podium record!
The arrival of the new generation of Formula E cars has seen the competitive flame of Mahindra Racing light up stronger than ever before; three races into the new season and the only Indian team on the Formula E grid has already accumulated three podium finishes, with one of them being that memorable victory for Jérôme D’Ambrosio in Marrakesh. This means, with Pascal's podium in Chile, Mahindra Racing is now the only team to hold a 100% podium record this season. Seems like it's time for a bigger trophy cabinet!
The team survives the Chilean Demolition Derby…
A traditional Formula E race is full of overtaking manoeuvres, bold defending and edge-of-the-seat action. If such races are a usual occurrence, then the race in Santiago was total mayhem! The large number of spectators at the O’Higgins Park saw a gripping race full of daring overtakes, colossal crashes and numerous penalties. Aggressive manoeuvres and passes brought the risk of accidents, but both Pascal and Jérôme tactfully dodged away any such possibility as they drove with great composure. Our daring duo ended up being amongst only 14 out of 22 drivers to make it to the chequered flag.
...And the scorching heat!
The race of attrition was also a test of endurance. Drivers had to keep their cool, for the unforgiving South American sun had no mercy and provided yet another challenge – dealing with the scorching heat. The temperature in Santiago peaked at a gruelling 38.3 degrees celsius, the hottest day on record in the city. Mahindra Racing did well to stay cool regardless of the heat and finish the race on the podium.
"I'm delighted to be on the podium for the third consecutive time in the three races we've had so far this season. We haven't had the best of luck in South America but our fortunes turned around…Our aim in Mexico is to get a pair of strong results – bring it on."
~ Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal, Mahindra Racing
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Mahindra Racing.