2016 Marrakesh ePrix Preview

FIA Formula E Hong Kong e-Prix.
First Practice Session.
Ma Qing Hua (CHN), Team Aguri – Spark SRT_01E
Hong Kong Harbour, Hong Kong, Asia.
Sunday 9 October 2016.
Photo: Adam Warner / FE / LAT
ref: Digital Image _L5R7421

After a frantic start to the 2016-17 Formula E season in Hong Kong, the championship heads westward now to Morocco for the second of its five new season three races, the inaugural Marrakesh ePrix.

The battleground for round two of the championship is the Marrakesh Street Circuit. Located just outside the walls of the Jardins de l’Agdal, the track begins with a short straight and two long left handers in Turns 1 and 3. With a chicane at Turns 4 and 5 and a snap right hander at Turn 6, maintaining a good exit from this section will be crucial for drivers who want to avoid getting mugged on the long straight down to Turn 7.

Braking suddenly for Turn 10 after the fast and wide half-moon of Turn 9, the field faces the final angular section of the track, with a long back straight down to the alternating right angles at Turns 11 and 12 providing the last opportunity of the lap to effect a slipstream pass.

Reigning champion Sébastien Buemi won October’s Hong Kong opener in his usual comfortable fashion, but neither he nor his Renault e.Dams team appeared to have as much in hand as they hoped over their rivals across the weekend.

DS Virgin in particular should be a threat to Renault in Marrakesh. The Citroën-powered team was unlucky to leave Hong Kong with no points after being struck with technical and mechanical problems for both cars, but the pace that allowed them to lock out the second row ahead of Buemi bodes well for this weekend – especially if José María López can marry that up with his experience of three WTCC wins around the Marrakesh Street Circuit.

The Audi-aligned ABT team will also be buoyed by Lucas di Grassi’s surge from the back of the grid to second, and will be hoping Daniel Abt can also reap the rewards of his FE-02 instead of suffering another first lap retirement. Currently ABT stands joint with Andretti in the standings, and will want a good run this weekend to pull clear of second and keep touch with Renault ahead.

Finally, Techeetah will similarly be heading to Marrakesh with better fortunes in mind. After suffering a bitter double retirement in Hong Kong, the new Chinese outfit still has a lot to prove about its headline testing pace, and Marrakesh could prove an auspicious outing for them – like López, Techeetah’s Ma Qinghua has raced the Moroccan streets before in the WTCC, finishing second in the first of the 2015 races.

The 2016 Marrakesh ePrix gets underway this Saturday at 16:00 UK time, with full race coverage available on our Twitter feed.

James Matthews

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