High drama during the final lap of the CBMM Niobium Mexico City e-Prix on Saturday 16th February, resulted in a top 12 best for ABB FIA Formula E Championship team NIO on a weekend which promised much more after a season-best qualifying performance.
Beginning the fourth event of the campaign very competitively indeed, NIO driver Oliver Turvey posted the fifth fastest time in opening practice and went on to qualify inside the top 10, just 0.158 seconds shy of making the Superpole session. Tom Dillmann also delivered his best starting position of Season 5 so far, securing 13th place on the grid.
Although carrying strong pace into the e-Prix, the start didn’t go to plan for either of NIO’s drivers and they were both shuffled down the order. Turvey and Dillmann fought back, though, into 12th and 16th respectively before a serious accident resulted in red flags on lap three.
After a lengthy delay and with a revised race time on the clock, the cars were finally released from the pit lane behind the Safety Car for a couple of laps before the race recommenced at full speed. Turvey maintained 12th place for some time before being edged down to 14th but, during an edge-of-the-seat final lap, the Briton climbed back into the top 12.
Dillmann’s race ebbed and flowed, dropping to 18th at one stage, but he was also able to capitalise like Turvey on the last lap to move up into the top 15, as several rivals struggled with rapidly diminishing energy.
Oliver Turvey, Race Driver, NIO Formula E Team:
“We were quite competitive in first practice and we have made some positive steps forwards. Unfortunately qualifying was so close, we were only a couple of tenths away from Superpole and ended up P10. The start of the race was tricky, I think we were just in the wrong place which was unfortunate. I was trying to hold position and fight for points but I struggled to hold on and manage the energy, so we had to settle for P12 in the end.”
Tom Dillmann, Race Driver, NIO Formula E Team:
“It was good to have a trouble-free practice and a solid qualifying. We have definitely made progress but there is a long way to go. The race was a tough one, we are still lacking some pace and I could not keep up and fight for points which was disappointing. We are heading in the right direction, though, which is positive.”
Gérry Hughes, Team Principal, NIO Formula E Team:
“Whilst the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has delivered another thrilling race, the final results were not what we had hoped for coming in to this weekend. The qualifying margins are always tight at this circuit but Oliver certainly had a good crack at it in the groups stage, narrowly missing out on progressing to Superpole.
“The start of the race saw a number of wheel-to-wheel battles where, unfortunately, both NIO drivers lost vital positions prior to the red flag halting play. After the re-start both drivers managed to settle into a bit of a rhythm, managing to escape further damage while racing to the flag to finish just outside the top ten.
The result today does not reflect the commitment that the whole team continues to apply to optimising the performance of the NIO 004 chassis and the test event tomorrow [Sunday] gives us yet another opportunity to accrue more mileage, enabling us to continue to reduce the deficit to our competitors.”
Formula E stays at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Sunday, 17th February, for the final officially timed post-event test of Season 5. Turvey and Dillmann will both be on track for NIO in their Gen 2 cars.
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