Race report: Cape Town E-Prix, round 5 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
António Félix da Costa (POR) wins his first Formula E race as Porsche works driver in Cape Town.
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) and Porsche maintain their lead in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Race 6 will be contested in the Brazilian financial metropolis of Sao Paolo on 25 March.
Porsche continues its success streak at the Formula E debut in Cape Town: At the Cape Town E-Prix in the South African metropolis, António Félix da Costa won his first race as Porsche works driver in the Porsche 99X Electric. Thanks to this victory, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team extends its lead in the team classification of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. In the drivers’ standings, Pascal Wehrlein retains his lead despite his early retirement.
The first outing of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Cape Town treated fans in the packed grandstands to the most gripping race of the season. Spectacular wheel-to-wheel duels and overtaking manoeuvres on the 2.927-kilometre circuit in the picture postcard setting between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain perfectly showcased the fascination of fully electric motorsports. For the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, this marked the third victory after five rounds of the season.
Despite his early retirement, Pascal Wehrlein, the winner of both races at Diriyah, leads the drivers’ standings of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with 80 points. Thanks to his first win with Porsche, António Félix da Costa has moved up the rankings to fourth place with 46 points. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team extends its lead in the team classification with 126 points. The Porsche customer team Avalanche Andretti occupies third place after André Lotterer (GER) finished ninth and Jake Dennis (GBR) finished in P13.
With his charge from P11 to first place, António Félix da Costa drove one of the best races in his Formula E career on the picturesque city circuit. At the wheel of his Porsche 99X Electric, he immediately launched his charge up the order and ploughed through the field – especially in the second half of the race: after 21 of the 32 laps he was running third, and in lap 24 he put in a spirited overtaking move to snatch the lead. After pulling clear of his pursuers, he activated his attack mode but had to try a second time and lost his lead. However, the Portuguese racer refused to give up and, with another impressive overtaking manoeuvre on the penultimate lap, brought home the well-deserved victory. A collision in the first lap threw his teammate Pascal Wehrlein out of the race.
Comments on the Cape Town E-Prix, Race 5
Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport: “That was an incredible race with a fantastic result for Porsche. I’m thrilled that António has won his first race as Porsche works driver and scored crucial points for the team. It’s a shame about Pascal. His qualifying performance was very strong but he made a mistake in the race. Still, mistakes happen. All the better if your teammate can step up. We have two drivers who can win races. I’m proud of the whole team. That was our third win of the season. Now we have to stay focused.”
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “The Formula E debut in Cape Town was a great event. Fantastic circuit, great racing, avid fans and victory for António – this was the best advertising for Formula E. I’m delighted for António. He made a minor error in qualifying but made up for it with a sensational race. On the flip side, I’m very sorry for Pascal. But we’re a team. We win together and we lose together. He’ll be back at the next races to show what he’s capable of. Now, for the first time this season, we have a four-week break. The team will use this time to recharge the batteries. And then we’ll be back at full revs in Sao Paulo.”
António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13): “I still can’t believe it. What a race! Clinching my first win for Porsche here in Cape Town after starting from P11 is simply fantastic. It actually felt like an endurance race with so much happening. Our strategy worked perfectly and I tried to keep my cool over the whole distance but when I crossed the finish line, I got a bit tearful. I want to thank everyone in the team for their terrific support and trust. It spurred me on and made this achievement possible.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “That was a disappointing race for me. After qualifying well, I could have achieved a lot today. That was obviously my fault. I braked a little too late and a little too hard, the wheels locked up and I couldn’t avoid the collision. Mistakes happen. I’m now looking ahead. It was a great day for Porsche. The team and I are very pleased about António’s win.”
The next race for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is the Sao Paulo E-Prix on 25 March – round 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. This is the first Formula E race in Brazil.