2017 Montreal ePrix – Venturi newsletter Sunday
– Lucas die Grassi secures Formula E Championship title in the final round of the season
– Venturi’s Tom Dillmann secures a point by finishing 10th
– Maro Engel opts for risky strategy
In brilliant sunshine, the crowds on the sold-out grandstands experienced a fantastic first Formula E race meeting in Montreal, featuring drama galore and stunning overtaking manoeuvres. “That’s motor racing at its best,” was the unanimous opinion of the visitors. A lot of the drama was caused by the battle of Abt driver Lucas di Grassi and Renault’s defending champion Sébastien Buemi for the title. In the end, the Brazilian prevailed against the Frenchman and secured the third title in the history of the sport.
But the way to achieving this goal was tough as the field was jumbled again and again. Therefore, making a prediction regarding the race result was impossible throughout the race and even more so as the circuit in the heart of Montreal offered great opportunities for risky overtaking.
Right after the start, Stephane Sarrazin spun and made for a moment of shock in the Venturi garage as he nearly hit Tom Dillmann who had started into the race from the great seventh grid position. Meanwhile, Maro Engel who had encountered a difficult qualifying session and consequently started from the penultimate row of the grid, couldn’t make use of the incident but none the less, he was already 14th when he crossed the line at the end of lap one. And he kept on making progress. While Dillmann quickly worked his way up to fifth and began to pressurise the fourth-placed driver, Engel followed just three seconds behind and from lap 10, both Venturi drivers held top-10 positions, thus apparently being on the way to scoring points.
Then, Engel opted for a risky strategy that temporarily seemed to pay off. “We speculated for a safety-car period and, consequently, for a very early car swap. We were aware that it might get close with the energy without full-course yellow period but following yesterday’s two safety-car periods and the impression that the racing was even wilder, today, it could have worked,” Maro said after the race.
Tom Dillmann, however, raced on a more conservative strategy. “We had a good energy management, all our parameters were in the green area and so, I would have been able to push in the closing stages.” But at first, the different approaches enabled Engel to pass his team-mate. “It goes without saying that I pushed to the max on my first lap following the car swap and by doing so I gained an advantage,” revealed the German.
During the race, the two Venturi drivers held sixth and seventh positions for quite a while but on the 27th of the 35 laps, things went haywire. While Jean Eric Vergne made the crucial move to pass Felix Rosenqvist for the lead and his first Formula E race win, Dillmann and Engel one after the other were passed by the two Abt drivers as well as Jerome D’Ambrosio. And as the hoped-for safety-car period didn’t come before the final two laps, Engel’s strategy didn’t pay off and he lost position by position while Dillmann scored a point by finishing 10th.
The two races in Montreal represented the outstanding finale of the great 2016 /2017 Formula E season. On 02nd December the Formula E will kick off its fourth season in Hong Kong