Sunday, March 13, 2016

Jay Penske's Dragon Racing Wins Big Down In O'le Mexico On Performance & Rulings

Abt Schaeffler's Lucas di Grassi (left) and Dragon Racing's Jerome D’Ambrosio (right) celebrate with the crowd on walkway in front of the ePrix podium at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Image Credit: Zak Mauger via FIA

Jay Penske's Dragon Racing Wins Big Down In O'le Mexico On Performance & Rulings

When does keeping all four wheels under your car and not allowing the muscle tactics of those around you, while playing by all of the rules, pay off?

When you are Dragon Racing's Jerome D’Ambrosio, who was able to qualify on the pole and run a clean race while personally maintaining rule on the course to win Round 5 of the FIA Formula E series race in Mexico City.

During the race, Jerome D’Ambrosio "fixed" the errant pass through a cutting of a chicane by a cutting of a chicane!

After the race, the FIA Formula E series Race Control "fixed" the winner of the race when it was found out in post-race technical, that the driver that crossed the finish line first did not win the race due to meeting the minimum race car weight as provided for by the rules.

In the beginning, the whole of the Formula E event infrastructure was flown in to Mexico City and set up at the unique layout of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez - part traditional race track, part street circuit. When the Formula E visits a venue, the FIA organization brings in everything they need to be self-supporting and self-contained all of the way down to providing all of the requirements for electric power (special Aquafuel, zero emission, glycerine (glycerol) generators) for the FIA event management center, paddocks, and race cars throughout the entire time of the event.

Mexico City ePrix race start. Image Credit: Adam Warner via FIA

This excerpted and edited from FIA Formula E - 

Stunning pole for D’Ambrosio

Mexico City|12 Mar 16 - Dragon Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio produced a stunning qualifying effort to take his second pole position of the season in qualifying for the Mexico City ePrix.

The Belgian recorded a great time of 1:03.705s in the Julius Baer Super Pole to put his rivals under pressure. Lucas di Grassi and Nico Prost both fell three-tenths short, leaving championship leader Sebastien Buemi as the only man who could take the top spot.

But the Renault e.dams star made a mistake at Turn 4 and ran wide, leaving him the slowest of the five Super Pole runners and D’Ambrosio on pole.

“It’s unexpected, we knew we could try to be top five,” said D’Ambrosio. “I told the team I was going to go full on and take the risks and take the fight to these guys and I just went for it and it worked out. It’s another couple of points and I feel great for the team.”

Prost beat di Grassi by just one tenth to ensure there will be a Renault e.dams car on the front row, while di Grassi will have Abt Schaeffler team-mate Daniel Abt next to him after the German made Super Pole for the first time this season.

In the group stages there was a long red flag period in Q3 after defending champion Nelson Piquet Jr had a huge lock-up into T1 and slammed his NEXTEV car into the TechPros barrier.

“I’m fine,” said Piquet as he walked back towards the garage. “I was pushing to find the limits of the car and I think I found it!”

The was significant damage to the front of the car and with just three hours between qualifying and the race, the NEXTEV TCR mechanics face a race against time to repair the car.

Also starting at the back of the grid is Bruno Senna, who also had an incident at Turn 1, when he lost the rear of his Mahindra Racing car and spun lightly into the wall, causing a small amount of damage.

Jean-Eric Vergne narrowly missed out on Super Pole for DS Virgin Racing and lines up sixth, while Antonio Felix da Costa did a great job to put his Team Aguri car in seventh. Loic Duval was eighth fastest in the second Dragon car, while Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra) and Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi) rounded out the top 10.

However, da Costa will start back in 17th due to a 10-place gearbox penalty, promoting Sam Bird in the second DS Virgin car into the top 10. Simona de Silvestro got the better of Andretti team-mate Robin Frijns for the first time in qualifying to set the 12th fastest time.

Mexico City ePrix first chicane corner ... clean start. Image Credit: Andrew Ferraro via FIA

The following is a blended excerpted and edited version of Mexico City ePrix details from FIA -

Fans power di Grassi to marvelous Mexico victory (Di Grassi stripped of Mexico win - post race)

Lucas di Grassi used fan power to take an emotional win in front of a large and passionate crowd that was treated to a fabulous inaugural Mexico City ePrix.

The unique layout of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez - part traditional race track, part street circuit - made overtaking tricky, but not impossible. But with an additional 100kJ of energy that di Grassi received through FanBoost, he was able to slipstream Jerome D’Ambrosio and take the lead into the tight first corner.

For three laps di Grassi threw energy consumption to the wind and concentrated on building up a lead instead, which he did with aplomb at almost a second per lap. With D’Ambrosio having his mirrors full of Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi, di Grassi was able to establish a comfortable advantage that he converted to not only his second win of the season, but the lead in the drivers’ championship.

“FanBoost really helped my race,” said di Grassi. “This track is difficult to overtake as you could see. I managed to overtake Nico (Prost) from third to second and then with the help of FanBoost I managed to overtake Jerome (D’Ambrosio) which was not so easy. It was really on the limit for braking for the chicane and the first laps we don’t have regen so the car was all over the place.”

[Di Grassi’s Abt Schaeffler car that he used for the first part of the race, was found to weigh 886.2kg, 1.8kg under the 888kg minimum. Abt has decided not to appeal the decision.]

The battle for second [actually ... the lead] was fierce. Erstwhile points leader Buemi was recovering from a mistake in qualifying, which left him fifth on the grid rather than the pole position his pace in practice had suggested. He passed di Grassi’s Abt Schaeffler team-mate Daniel Abt early on, and made up a further place in the pitstops when he leap-frogged his Renault e.dams team-mate Nico Prost.

On a number of occasions Buemi was able to get in the slipstream of the Dragon Racing car, but each time D’Ambrosio defended robustly. On one occasion there was even contact as Buemi tagged the back of the Belgian at 200kph as they disputed position. Finally, he did manage to get ahead, but had to cut the first chicane in the process.

Image Credit: Zak Mauger via FIA

As Buemi backed off to allow D’Ambrosio to re-pass, it allowed Prost, Abt and the second Dragon of Loic Duval to get into the fight. Eventually, the previous order was restored, but by now di Grassi was almost 10 seconds up the road. The fight for second went all the way to the flag and a photo-finish, with D’Ambrosio crossing the line just ahead!

D’Ambrosio said: “It was really a close call with Seb. We just spoke about it on the podium but I need to see a replay to see what really happened there. One moment we had contact in the first corner and everything went fine. Then he overtook me but cut the first chicane. When he let me by he always lifted in a place I was not going to try to overtake him. Therefore, it created a big mess all around. I think in the end everything played out correctly.”

D’Ambrosio joined di Grassi in performing some fantastic donuts in front of the 33,319-strong crowd, who then cheered their heroes on some more as they collected their trophy on the stage The Rolling Stones will be playing on in two days’ time.

Stadium section of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez race track. Image Credit: Zak Mauger via FIA

“I think today we weren’t quick enough to be honest,” said Buemi. “It’s a very strange track here. The altitude, the asphalt was very warm and we didn’t have much grip. Looking forward to going back to a normal type of circuit. Clearly what happened in qualifying is a bit annoying because it is hard to understand what happened, I kind of didn’t really understand. So at the moment we won’t try to analyse it because the car is good enough but in the race it was not really there.”
FIA President Jean Todt, who was in Mexico to sign an agreement with Jose Abed, Vice President for Sport and President of OMDAI and the Mayor of Mexico City Miguel Angel Mancera implementing safety training courses for public transportation vehicle operators, was on hand to witness the successful first foray of all-electric racing to Mexico.

“Formula E - a young competition attracting fresh audiences - provides us with a platform to raise awareness on road safety to the thousands of spectators attending, altogether with our partners from the GRSP and the Red Cross,” he said. “Making significant progress to reduce the number of road crashes’ victims can only be achieved by bringing all stakeholders to take action together, and this weekend we will demonstrate that this is possible.”

What the weekend also demonstrated is that Formula E can produce unpredictable, exciting action that gets the crowd on its feet and shows that sustainable motorsport is the motor racing not just of the future but of the here and now.
Abt Schaeffler's Lucas di Grassi celebrates with the crowd after coming in first across the finish line at the Mexico City ePrix - in this pose, he looks more as if he had just heard that his win was stripped and awarded to Dragon Racing's Jerome D’Ambrosio. Image Credit: Zak Mauger via FIA

Lucas di Grassi has been excluded from the result of the Mexico City ePrix, handing victory to Jerome D’Ambrosio.

The decision means di Grassi is now 22 points behind Sebastien Buemi, who is promoted to second place. Nico Prost moves up to third, and the Renault e.dams driver also gains two more points for setting the Visa Fastest Lap after D’Ambrosio’s best effort was removed for being set while cutting a chicane.

Loic Duval remains classified fourth but was handed a 15-second penalty for repeatedly cutting the chicane and then ignoring the black and white flag he was shown for this offence.

Robin Frijns is promoted to fifth, Sam Bird to sixth, Daniel Abt to seventh, Nick Heidfeld to eighth, Stephane Sarrazin to ninth, while Bruno Senna now collects the final point in 10th.

Post Round 5 Team Standings - Jay Penske's American team, Dragon Racing sits at P2

Adjusted -  2016 Mexico City ePrix (Rd 5) - Race results
  1.     Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +5.416s (25)
  2.     Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, +5.522s (23)
  3.     Loic Duval, Dragon Racing, +16.774s (15)
  4.     Nico Prost, Renault e.dams, +30.953s (12)
  5.     Robin Frijns, Andretti Formula E, +33.893s (10)
  6.     Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing, +34.344s (8)
  7.     Daniel Abt, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, +35.467s (6)
  8.     Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, +41.789s (4)
  9.     Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +42.707s (2)
  10.     Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +43.019s (1)
  11.     Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR, +44.014s
  12.     Mike Conway, Venturi, +44.206s
  13.     Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +47.767s
  14.     Simona de Silvestro, Andretti Formula E, +49.387s
  15.     Salvador Duran, Team Aguri, +1:08.498s
  16.     Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing, +1 lap
  17.     Antonio Felix da Costa, Team Aguri, DNF
Lucas di Grassi, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport - Stripped Of All Points

The next race - Formula E Long Beach ePrix - happens April 2, 2016 for Round 6 of the 2015-2016 season through the streets of Long Beach ... for a second time.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: FIA, Formula E series, ePrix, Mexico City, Dragon Racing, Jay Penske, Jerome D’Ambrosio,under weight, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, The EDJE

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