Cape Town E-Prix – There will be a much reduced grid lining up for the race this afternoon after multiple cars have had to withdraw.
During qualifying Nico Mueller failed to make an appearance on track during Group A and it was revealed after that session that Mahindra were looking at an issue on their cars and wouldn’t be taking any part in qualifying.
Later Mahindra released a statement announcing their withdrawal from the event and that it was due to safety issues with their rear suspension:
“Mahindra Racing Formula E team have confirmed their withdrawal from the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship qualifying sessions and race in Cape Town due to rear suspension safety concerns.
“A thorough investigation on the suspension elements of the Mahindra M9Electro race cars will take place on the team’s return to the UK. This decision also affects their customer team ABT CUPRA Formula E Team. The safety of our drivers and extended teams is of utmost importance.”
That meant that it would be the end of an era for Formula E as Cape Town would be the first ever E-Prix not to include Lucas di Grassi, the only driver to have raced in every event in the series’ history until today. It would also mean that South African driver Kelvin van der Linde’s dream of driving a World Championship race at home would now become a nightmare as he’ll have to watch from the sidelines.
As if losing four cars was bad enough, Jaguar then announced that Sam Bird would also be withdrawn from the race as there was not enough time to repair his car after a crash in qualifying:
“Sam Bird is unable to compete in the fifth round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship after an accident in qualifying in Cape Town. Sam’s Jaguar I-Type 6 requires a chassis change and there is insufficient time to complete the work before the race. Jaguar TCS Racing’s efforts will now focus on optimising Mitch’s race.”
After the chequered flag in Group B, when all drivers were on their final fast laps Edoardo Mortara went into the wall at T9 in a very similar manner to how Sebastien Buemi did during FP1. While the Swiss driver sat in his stricken Maserati, no Yellow Flags appeared to have been flown which meant Bird went full speed towards the corner and also crashed in the same way which saw him smashing into Mortara.
That means that there will only be seventeen cars lining up for the start of the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix and Nissan’s Sasha Fenestraz will be at the front of those after stunningly quick lap to beat Maximilian Guenther in the final duel.
Incredible lap from Fenestraz to seal debut pole