Jerome D’Ambrosio took his first ABB FIA Formula E Championship victory since 2016 after benefiting from a clash between the two leading BMW i Andretti Motorsport cars in Marrakesh.
The Mahindra Racing driver held off Envision Virgin’s Robin Frijns ans Sam Bird in a one-lap sprint following a safety car that had been called to retrieve Antonio Felix da Costa’s stricken BMW from the turn seven runoff.
Da Costa and Alexander Sims were holding a clear 1-2 for BMW when Sims lunged to the outside of his teammate with 10 minutes remaining.
Both drivers locked up their tires in the side-on contact but da Costa came off worse, with the Ad Diriyah E-Prix winner nosing into the barriers and retiring while Sims dropped back to fourth.
This promoted d’Ambrosio into the lead but the Belgian needed to defend hard from Frijns in the final sprint to the checkered flag.
D’Ambrosio himself locked up into the final right-hand kink but held on to finish 0.143 seconds ahead of the Envision Virgin driver, marking the closest racing finish in Formula E history.
Pole-sitter Bird finished third in the sister Envision Virgin car after losing positions to the two BMW drivers and Frijns during the 45-minute race, while Sims settled for fourth.
D’Ambrosio started the race in 10th but made up multiple places in a choppy opening sequence.
He lost fifth position early on to Lucas di Grassi but later returned the favor on the Audi factory driver before overtaking the Envision Virgin teammates in quick succession with just over 20 minutes to go.
D’Ambrosio then crucially held third place over Frijns as he drove off-line to collect his final Attack Mode power boost before the BMWs came to blows.
It marked his first victory since the 2016 Mexico City E-Prix, although this was the first time he had won without disqualifications to other drivers.
BMW showed the best pace in Morocco with da Costa and Sims opening up a commanding lead before their coming together.
Da Costa got past early leader Bird after 15 minutes of racing while Sims followed his teammate through shortly after with a well-timed move on Bird’s outside into turn seven, where the race would later be decided.
Jean-Eric Vergne finished fifth behind Sims in the best of the DS Techeetah cars after recovering from an opening-lap spin that saw the reigning champion drop to the rear of the field.
Vergne made an ambitious lunge down the inside of Bird but made contact with the Virgin car and rotated in front of the field, causing several shifts in the running order behind.
Affected drivers included Super Pole runners Mitch Evans and Sebastien Buemi, who both dropped out of the top 10 while the likes of d’Ambrosio and di Grassi made up spots.
Vergne produced a stellar recovery to finish in the top five while his DS Techeetah teammate Andre Lotterer finished sixth.
Di Grassi came home in seventh ahead of Evans and Buemi, while Pascal Wehrlein retired on his Formula E debut after contact on the opening lap.
The only other retirements were HWA teammates Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett who collided with each other on lap one.
RESULTS: Marrakesh E-Prix