The 2019-2020 ABB FIA Formula E championship finished its first race of new decade with a thrilling classic in Santiago this afternoon. NIO 333 FE team driver Oliver Turvey astounded the whole paddock by getting into the Super Pole.
However, the British driver just missed out on scoring points after a tough race. Turvey’s teammate Ma Qinghua successfully finished the race after an incident in free practice.
After a near miss on points in Saudi Arabia, the Chinese team came to the South America continent with a mission, to prove its potential in the top 10. With a good result in the O’Higgins circuit last year, Turvey started the day with confidence. The British was firmly in the top 10 during free practice.
Later on, the number 3 racer astounded the whole Formula E paddock by finishing in the top 5 during group qualifying, meaning an entrance into the Super Pole, making the team’s first appearance since 2018 Berlin ePrix.
With a clean side starting position on Row 3, Turvey made a good start, overtaking Venturi driver Felipe Massa into 4th. However, the race pace struggle means the British star was unable to keep his position in the points despite a strong defence. A 12th place finish marks another near miss on scoring points.
Ma Qinghua’s first visit to the Santiago circuit proofed to be eventful. During the closing stage of Free Practice 2, a crash in Turn 5 saw Ma’s car sustain a serious suspension damage and forced Chinese driver to sit out qualifying. After repair, the only Chinese driver of the field was able to start from the back row and finished 16th after few moves in the race.
The performance in Santiago shows a positive start to the 2020 in the team operated by Chinese Motorsport industry giant, Shanghai Lisheng Racing Co. LTD. Lead by Turvey’s brilliant performance, the Chinese team is encouraged to continue the progress, and to reach its full potential.
With the traditional Chinese New Year celebration one week away, NIO 333 team is ready to take a break before the next round in Mexico City.
|Location coordinates||33° 27′ 0″ S 70° 40′ 0″ W|
“I think we did a good job as a team in Free Practice to find improvements in the car, in terms of set up and also in the software setting for flying laps. I was really pleased with my Qualifying lap to get into the Super Pole, to qualify P5 was an amazing achievement in our second weekend as a team. In the race, we had a good start. I managed to get up to P4 and hold my position for the opening laps. As the race evolved, we were a bit struggling on race pace, and had few issues in the car. It was tough to keep the pace, we will analyze the race and learn from it and come back stronger in the next round.”
“The long gap between the opening round and the first race of 2020 gave us the chance to solve number of issues on the car and its software. This weekend is my first time driving on the O’Higgins circuit. Starting from zero, FP1 went smoothly but FP2’s crash unfortunately interrupted the plan of the weekend. Fortunately, I was able to make the start even though the balance of the car was not ideal, but my goal of finishing race was never in doubt. Because at this stage, accumulate mileage, experience on battery management is critical. With the experience of two rounds, also considering the Mexican city circuit being a more traditional track, I am looking forward to some good results there.”
“We left Saudi Arabia knowing the work we need to put in to close the gap and to prepare for the Santiago ePrix. Today’s performance shows the progress is solid and even surprise the whole paddock. The race pace is a reflection of where we stand at this stage and also shows the improvement direction. Despite the time difference and the lack of sleep, the up and down of the weekend is enjoyable to me as the CEO. Our two drivers both showed their great drive this weekend. Oliver proofs his world class ability while Ma showing his top quality amongst the Chinese drivers. I hope we can all be patient while Ma is still familiarizing with the Gen 2 car. ”
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