Formula E returns to Africa this weekend for the Marrakesh E-Prix.
The Moroccan city of Marrakesh will once again host all-electric motorsport, when the FIA Formula E Championship comes to town this weekend.
27 February, 2020
The track is an interesting mixture of permanent race track and some roads that make up the 2.971km circuit
For Round 5 of this year’s FIA Formula E Championship, all eyes will be on the African continent this weekend as Marrakesh prepares for the big race on Saturday (2:00am Sunday AEST).
Morocco made its first appearance on the calendar in the third season. The track is an interesting mixture of permanent race track and some roads that make up the 2.971km circuit. With a total of 12 turns but three good straights, there are opportunities for overtaking, but the circuit is narrow in places and an accident or even a small contact can have big consequences.
Last year was not a resounding success for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, although both drivers finished in the points. The highlight was Lucas di Grassi’s fastest race lap, so the team is looking to not only repeat that feat in Marrakesh in 2020, but also see both drivers finish on the podium.
With four rounds of the championship now complete, Lucas di Grassi sits in 5th position on the driver’s standings and has become the first Formula E driver to break the 750-point barrier.
“The championship is still young, we have four different winners so far, nothing has been decided. What’s important is that we score points even if we catch a less than perfect day,” says di Grassi. “My goal for Marrakesh is a better qualifying, despite the difficult first group. With a grid position in the top 10, anything is possible.”
Following the race on Saturday, the 2019/20 rookie test will take place, where each team puts some new talent behind the wheel of their race cars with a view to blooding new drivers for the future. Only drivers who have never contested a Formula E race and who do not hold an E-license are permitted to take part, but the calibre of drivers and the wealth of experience they bring is nonetheless impressive.
At this weekend’s test, Audi drivers Kelvin van der Linde and Mattia Drudi will get a taste of the Audi e-tron FE06 around the Marrakesh circuit, bringing their considerable experience to the all-electric formula.
Although young, both drivers are veterans in many ways, the Italian Drudi joining the Audi Sport customer racing team in February 2019 and going on to show his prowess behind the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS. Kelvin van der Linde has been a member of the Audi Sport customer racing team since 2015 and has won the ADAC GT Masters drivers’ title twice, the Nürburgring 24 Hours, as well as other endurance races for Audi.
“The test is a completely new challenge and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never driven a single-seater before, so there’s a lot to learn, because the demands on Formula E drivers are particularly complex and more varied than in GT racing,” says Kelvin van der Linde.
The calibre of drivers and the wealth of experience they bring is nonetheless impressive
For Drudi, the test session will be a welcome opportunity to try the Formula E car ‘for real’ having wracked up many hours in the team’s racing simulator
“I’ve been following the series for ages and I have noticed how it’s becoming increasingly important, especially in light of climate discussions. Although I come from South Africa, this will actually be my first visit to another African country.”
For Drudi, the test session will be a welcome opportunity to try the Formula E car ‘for real’ having wracked up many hours so far in the team’s racing simulator. “I’ve always supported the Formula E project with my simulator work. It’s cool to now join the Audi team on a race weekend. I’m looking forward to working with this squad,” says Drudi.
“I’ll be there the whole weekend and I’m excited to see what the procedures and the atmosphere are like at the track. On television, the races look really exhilarating and the drivers and fans seem to have a great time. Gaining experience in driving the real car will also be important for my work in the simulator.”
All international channels including the broadcast schedule for Saturday’s race can be found online at www.fiaformulae.com while Audi also provides information from Formula E and from Morocco under the name AudiSport on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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