In a role reversal to the 2016 race, Felix Rosenqvist’s late-race pass on Sebastien Buemi sealed victory in Saturday’s Marrakesh E-Prix, propelling the Swede into the lead of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The Mahindra M4Electro driver edged out Buemi by 0.945 seconds at the line following a hard-fought battle between the two drivers through the second stint of the race.
While having trailed pole-sitter Buemi from the start, and further compounded by a two-second loss to the Renault e.dams driver in the mid-race pit stop, Rosenqvist made an impressive charge in the second half of the 33-lap contest at the Circuit Moulay El Hassan.
Rosenqvist then set up the race-winning move on Buemi, getting by the Swiss driver on the inside of Turn 8 with five laps to go.
It marked Rosenqvist’s third career victory and second in a row after inheriting the win in Race 2 in Hong Kong last month.
The victory also came less than two hours after a post-qualifying battery change for one of his Mahindra cars.
Buemi was forced to settle for second, after swapping starting cars pre-race due to a technical issue.
Hong Kong Race 1 winner Sam Bird completed the podium in third after fading late with suspected gearbox problems for his DS Virgin DSV-03.
Bird ran second in the opening 15 laps before getting passed by eventual winner Rosenqvist, who had started third after struggling during his Super Pole lap.
Nelson Piquet Jr. and Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top-five for Panasonic Jaguar Racing and Techeetah respectively, with Jose Maria Lopez scoring Dragon Racing’s first points of the season in sixth on his return to the series.
A late-race collision involving both Venturi entries and Nick Heidfeld resulted in a post-race time penalty for Maro Engel, dropping the German to 13th.
It promoted Heidfeld to 7th, despite finishing the race with bodywork damage.
Tom Blomqvist enjoyed a solid Formula E debut, ending up 8th in his Andretti entry, with Nico Prost and Alex Lynn completing the top-10.
Lynn lost time early when he was hit by the Audi Sport Abt Schlaeffler entry of Daniel Abt, who was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident.
Things went from bad to worse for Audi, with Abt’s teammate Lucas di Grassi slowing on track early with technical issues.
It marked the second consecutive retirement for the defending series champion, who still has zero points on the board this season.
One of di Grassi’s cars swapped an inverter pre-race, which cost the team one of its permitted jokers.
RESULTS: Marrakesh E-Prix