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Vandoorne, Paffett Rue First Lap Contact

HWA Racelab teammates Vandoorne, Paffett look back on intra-team incident…

Photo: Formula E

HWA Racelab driver Stoffel Vandoorne has described the Marrakesh E-Prix as “character building” after the incident which eliminated both himself and teammate Gary Paffett on Saturday.

The Belgian triggered the contact at the first corner after Jean-Eric Vergne’s rotation caused confusion further down the pack.

“We had a shut down in qualifying, not being able to put a lap down and then we were kind of a bit of a back foot. So, it’s character building,” Vandoorne told e-racing365.

“Starting from the back, it’s always tricky to try to make up ground.”

“I touched with Gary and then the car broke. It’s a shame this hampered our progress as the suspension was broken.”

Vandoorne believes that his own confusion on how to approach the first corner and the ensuing incident ahead contributed to the accident with Paffett.

“You can kind of go into the race two-minded, say, OK, I’m just cruising into the first corner and see what happens and the other one is to try and have a more aggressive approach,” he said.

“I think I was kind of in the middle, doing both of them, and with just all the carnage going on, the smoke, I couldn’t really see where I was going and unfortunately I touched with Gary and it was too late.”

Paffett said that he elected to be cautious going into the first corner before the contact occurred.

“I wanted to be fairly cautious, trying not to have any incidents and Stoffel obviously out-braked himself a bit and then just run to the side of my car, which obviously damaged both cars, his more than mine,” he told e-racing365.

“It broke a part the wheel on my rear wheel and eventually caused a puncture which effectively led to my spin and the retirement.”

Team principal Ulrich Fritz described the incident as “disastrous”.

“That is obviously something that should never happen,” he said. “Unfortunately, however, that was the case today. I feel sorry for the whole team.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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