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LOTTERER: Rome Debrief

Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer files his latest column after a drive to third in Rome…

Photo: Techeetah

It was a very memorable weekend in Italy for the first ever Rome E-Prix for me and the Techeetah team last weekend.

Formula E is already bringing some unbelievable memories in this new phase of my career and to be a part of such an historic occasion was special.

To also come away with a podium was also very pleasing after a tough but really enjoyable race last Saturday.

The first practice sessions were good but in the second one we had some issues and didn’t put anything together.

This meant I didn’t feel too confident going in to qualifying but somehow we were able to extract a good lap.

Initially I approached the lap a little conservatively and just felt the balance of the car. Then I built it up through the lap and the last sector was pretty good, so I then knew what we could attack and get a decent time in.

Getting the quickest time in qualifying was satisfying because the track was new and it was a real challenge, a very enjoyable racetrack.

Then in Super Pole I was at a slight disadvantage because being in the last quali group meant that I had the hottest tires. The margins are that fine in Formula E. A few degrees more on the tires combined can make a difference.

My Super Pole lap was OK and the car still felt good but I clipped the wall at Turn 15 and I lost three tenths at least, so really I should have been P2 I think.

The grid was super busy, a lot going on. You could feel the buzz and the anticipation so it had the feeling of a major event.

My first stint was quite uneventful but at the end I started to catch Mitch [Evans] and I thought about a pass but couldn’t get one in before the pit stop.

The stop wasn’t easy, I’m too tall to do it as efficiently as others, which is a bit unfair but this is how it is I guess.

In the middle of the second stint I was conscious that I was saving too much energy and I think I have to look at that with the team.

Lucas [di Grassi] was pushing a lot behind me and he got past me but still I was looking good with a decent balance in the car and it came back to me.

I almost got Lucas back but then he cleared Mitch and from then it was a big fight to try and take the Jaguar for another podium position.

By the time I got passed Mitch the others were too far ahead which was a little frustrating but I learned a lot today about Formula E.

It is an ongoing process as there is so much to know. The drivers with experience here know absolutely everything and how to use their cars the best.

But overall this race was very useful for learning and of course it is always nice to get a podium, especially at a fantastic new event like Rome.

I have to say the Rome E-Prix was amazing, the best event so far I think for me. I’d like to thank the people of Rome and the organisers here and at Formula E for such a great job.

The enthusiasm of the fans here was great. I was staying right in the heart of the city and people were saying it was the event of the year here in Rome which is really something.

In fact I would say that it was the best podium I have been on after Le Mans which really says something for what was achieved by the city and Formula E last weekend.

Now at Techeetah we get ready for the Paris E-Prix which will come to us very quickly. But [Jean-Eric Vergne] was quick there last year so we are hopeful we can extend our lead in the teams’ standings.

Photo: Formula E

A three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and 2012 FIA World Endurance Champion, Andre Lotterer drives for TECHEETAH Formula E in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

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