2017 Buenos Aires E Prix Stephane Sarrazin finishes 12th in the Buenos Aires E-Prix Some 30,000 enthusiastic visitor witness the race action on site Maro Engel delivers in fine style but is forced into early retirement
While all the weather forecasts had predicted torrential rain for the weekend at Buenos Aires, the weather gods proved to be motor-racing fans and made for a perfect motor-racing day with mild 25° C and dry conditions throughout the day. Consequently, the bad sliding on the ultra slippery zebra crossing of Argentina’s capital that had been feared by many pundits didn’t become an issue.
Nonetheless, the circuit in the most popular quarter of the metropolis located at the River Plata is infamous due to its difficult sections and so, it came as nor surprise that numerous drivers already fell victim to it in the practice and qualifying sessions. A total of six drivers, among them the future pole sitter, Lucas di Grassi, crashed into the concrete walls.
Maro Engel also had what it takes to qualify for a top-five position on the grid but in the only possible lap – the lap when a driver is allowed to use the full power of the electric motors – he was stopped by a damaged sensor.
Prior to the race, the German proved to be confident, nevertheless, and said: “That’s a real pity as starting here into the race from the back end if the grid will be tough – and even more so as I will be surrounded by several fast divers who also would have secured better grid positions, without their accidents. But if your basic pace is fine achieving a good result at a street circuit always is possible.”
Stephane Sarazzin was pipped in the battle for a top-10 position on the grid and qualified 11th. “Last year I secured the Buenos Aires pole and therefore, I’m not really happy,” admitted the Frenchman. “On the other hand, a street circuit always offers you the opportunity to secure a good result if your pace and your strategy are fine.”
In the early stages of the race, Engel’s expectation turned out to be correct as he quickly was battling out for 16th position with Daniel Abt and local hero ‘Pechito’ Lopez. Around race half-time, however, his way up came to a sudden end was as he had to pit with loss of power. None the less, he demonstrated the competitiveness of the Venturi GP single-seater by setting the third-fastest race lap.
In the midfield, Stephan Sarazzin also was battling it out with rivals throughout the race. At times he was in the points but at the end of the day he finished 12th. “A better result would have been possible,” he said, “But the fights were really really hard and it was a consistent up and down. In the end I couldn’t make it to the top 10.” Sarazzin took the chequered flag in 12th position, 0.5 seconds behind Felix da Costa.
“Altogether, this was a weekend where we failed to make use of our pace to score,” said Gildo Pallanca Pastor, the team owner of Venturi GP. “Now the entire team has to work even harder to detect and solve the problems in the two weeks before Mexico where we want to make it to the top 10 with both our cars.”
The next round will be contested on 01st April in Mexico.