Felix Rosenqvist was elevated to first place in Hong Kong and earned his second victory in the FIA Formula E Championship, after Daniel Abt was disqualified for a technical infringement.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver was denied his first-ever win in Formula E on his 25th birthday following a post-race penalty, which found that the FIA security stickers (barcodes) on the inverter and MGU units didn’t correspond with those declared on the technical passport provided by the competitor for the event.
The result has promoted Kiwi Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Mitch Evans into third behind Edoardo Mortara. After the first two races of the 14 race season Evans lies sixth overall on the points table.
“I’m proud to secure Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s first podium in Formula E,” commented Evans. “It’s bittersweet as Daniel is a good guy and a mate of mine. After a tough year in our first season, this is a great reward for the hard work of everyone in the team. Tonight we will celebrate this achievement together and then work hard to repeat it.”
The result remains provisional subject to an appeal to the FIA International Court of Appeal by Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, against the stewards’ decision to disqualify Abt from the race.
Abt pumped his fist as he crossed the finish-line, only to be stripped of victory hours later. The German chased debutant Edoardo Mortara for the majority of the race and inherited the lead with just two laps to go after the Venturi driver spun at Turn 2.
Street circuit specialist Mortara put on an impressive display in only his second-ever E-Prix, but made a mistake pushing too hard to obtain the extra point for Visa Fastest Lap. He quickly recovered after pirouetting into the run-off area and re-joined to finish in a disappointing third – later promoted to second.
Rosenqvist led the field from the start behind the Qualcomm Safety Car as a hardware issue caused the start-lights not to come on. However, the Mahindra Racing driver didn’t utilise his advantage of avoiding a standing start and carried too much speed into the first corner, spinning in the process with the entire field facing him.
Unable to get back on the racing line with a stampede of cars approaching, Rosenqvist had to wait patiently for an opportunity to safely join the queue. The Swede slowly made his way back through the field and benefitted from the movers and shakers ahead of him to claim the maximum points on offer – with the additional points for Julius Baer pole position and Visa fastest lap.
Despite not being able to stand on the top step – Rosenqvist will take it as it comes, as will Mitch Evans who made history with a first podium finish in Formula E for Panasonic Jaguar Racing and a return to the podium for Jaguar in motorsport for the first time in 15 years. Evans finished the opening race of the weekend in 12th with the win going to Sam Bird from DS Virgin Racing.