8 November 2016, Donington: Mahindra Racing heads to Morocco this Saturday for the inaugural Marrakesh ePrix, the second round of the 2016-17 FIA Formula E Championship.

On the cards could be a repeat or even improvement of the performance that saw the team collect a fantastic podium and fastest lap at the season opener in Hong Kong last month.

Marrakesh will mark Formula E’s first foray into the African continent and take place during the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP22). The second of five brand new venues in the 12-race, 10-country calendar, the event aims to further highlight vehicle technology development in the world’s first fully electric global racing series.

A semi-permanent 2.971km street circuit just south of the city, the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, will play host to the condensed race programme on 12 November which includes two practice sessions, qualifying and the race all on one day. Since the World Touring Car Championship has used the circuit in the past, it provides the teams with more simulation data and video analysis homework than any other new location.

After his podium in Hong Kong, Mahindra Racing’s German driver Nick Heidfeld is looking to complete another faultless performance in the M3Electro. Swedish series rookie Felix Rosenqvist, who celebrated his 25th birthday this week, will also be one to watch after setting the fastest lap during his Formula E debut – a time faster than that set in qualifying and a new lap record. That pace may help him on the Marrakesh street circuit’s four straights with top speeds expected to reach around 190-195kph.

“We had a good beginning to the season at the opening round of the FIA Formula E 2016-17 Championship last month, but there are still areas to improve on. Marrakesh is our next chance to do just that and I’m really excited to see our team move forward once again. Nick was able to capitalise on a great start, move up the field and expertly manage his energy in Hong Kong. While Felix’s first race didn’t exactly go to plan, his pace was quicker than the pole lap and we remain confident in his ability to deliver a good race result in Marrakesh. For Formula E, it’s an exciting time and the partnership with COP22 will only enhance the sport’s bright future. We are looking forward to putting on a show for the world’s climate leaders.”

Dilbagh Gill

“We had a good weekend in Hong Kong for the opening race and it will be very interesting to see how we perform again because it is still early in the season. The Marrakesh ePrix circuit has a lot of quick corners compared to Hong Kong and even compared to most of the other races in Formula E so far. The first two corners are quite special for Formula E as they are quick and long, and you have to keep turning all the way through them. It’s partly a permanent circuit, but still has many walls just like any street circuit, so there will be a high chance of full course yellow or a safety car. Everyone is likely to have a challenge with energy management, because the layout means it’s going to be a race that requires a lot of coasting and conservation. It is also going to be my first time in Africa, so this is something I am looking forward to!”

Nick Heidfeld

“The good thing is that we’ve seen the Marrakesh track before, even if it’s new for Formula E, it is known to the public from WTCC so I know more or less what to expect. It’s a different track to Hong Kong in every sense. It has a lot of chicanes and straights so it will require a different driving style and a different rhythm. I honestly don’t know if it will suit me or not, I guess we will see when we are there in Marrakesh, but overall it’s a completely different challenge. The target for this race is to build on what we achieved in Hong Kong. The pace was really good and I would like to keep that trend. We know that we have a good package and I want to be able to use it to its maximum potential as soon as possible even if I am still learning a little bit every time.”

Felix Rosenqvist