Both Maro Engel and Daniel Abt believe that “harsh” penalties spoiled their chances of stronger finishes in yesterday’s Marrakesh E-Prix.
Engel was penalized after challenging Nick Heidfeld’s Mahindra for sixth place in the closing stages of the race.
The Venturi driver attempted a move on Heidfeld, but contact was made between the pair at Turn 10. The incident was further complicated by a chasing Edoardo Mortara who was also looking for a way through behind Engel and Heidfeld.
All three eventually made contact and lost time in the resulting melee. While Engel and Heidfeld continued in seventh and eighth positions respectively, Mortara was forced to park his car due to the resulting damage, although he was classified in 17th position.
Engel was held accountable for the accident by the stewards, who imposed a retrospective 20-second time penalty that pushed him back out of the points to 12th place.
“I think it is ridiculous. I’m fully alongside or I have my front wheel just behind [Heidfeld’s] front wheel and he gives me no room whatsoever and turns in as if I’m not there,” Engel told e-racing365.
“I tried to avoid the contact by going all the way to the inside and over the curb and I also got a small touch or nudge from behind I think. He has half a spin which in my opinion clearly because he turned in as if I wasn’t there. He gave me no room whatsoever.”
Daniel Abt’s race was similarly compromised, firstly by a clash with Alex Lynn early in the race and then losing out on the Full Course Yellow when he pitted the lap before it was deployed.
The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver described his drive-through penalty for the incident with Lynn as “harsh”, and believes it was simply a “racing accident.”
“In an incident like this Alex is going to say it is my fault and I will say it is more his fault because I think it was avoidable as I was already next to him when I made the move and he turns in,” said Abt.
“Whatever it is, it is now something we cannot change but I think it was a little harsh.
“Because of him spinning around I think it looked more spectacular and if we had just have made it around it would be nothing,” he explained.
“I don’t think it was massively anyone’s fault, just an incident fighting for position but I got the penalty which was a big frustration obviously when I feel it was pretty much a racing incident.”
John Dagys contributed to this report