Envision Virgin Racing managing director Sylvain Filippi has described Sam Bird’s dramatic pole position for the Marrakesh E-Prix as “a real rollercoaster of emotions”.
Bird claimed his fifth ABB FIA Formula E Championship pole position despite suffering diffusor damage in a pit lane incident at the end of the third qualifying group.
The British driver had just returned from setting the then-fastest lap of the group stages when he was hit by his teammate Robin Frijns who had been rammed by Tom Dillmann’s NIO.
Fillipi told e-racing365 that the dramatic circumstances surrounding Bird’s pole were “typical of Formula E and why fans love it.”
“We were really worried because we were getting other readings on our screen which didn’t look good, so we thought powertrain parts had been damaged,” he said.
“In the end, we did a full reset and it was OK, but it was a big stress.
“It was all new and we were looking at the regulations on what to do also. I have aged big time after this!
“But this is fairly typical of Formula E and why fans love it.”
The team was unable to touch the car while it was under Parc Ferme conditions and despite uncertainty on the range of damage, Bird embarked on his final flyer at the end of Super Pole.
While Bird will start from the front, Frijns’ Audi-powered Virgin car is under assessment after suffering more significant damage (pictured below).
“Robin absorbed most of the hit so he has more damage and we are assessing his car,” confirmed Filippi.
Earlier in the day, the Envision Virgin crew on Bird’s car were forced to perform a water pump change after a pressure issue stopped the car in the second practice session.
“It was the first time we do that in anger and it was just under an hour which was great work by the team because it is a new car and all it takes is a tiny mistake,” said Filippi.
The Marrakesh E-Prix takes place later today at 4.05 p.m. local time (10:05 a.m. ET, 3:05 p.m GMT).