Porsche experiences a difficult start to the Formula E weekend in Rome

– Race report: Rome E-Prix, Round 13 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
– Pascal Wehrlein (GER) scores points for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team with ninth place.
– António Félix da Costa (POR) shunted out of the race.
– Race red-flagged after spectacular pile-up – all drivers involved are safe and well.
– Race 14 will be held in Rome on 16 July.

The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team suffered a setback in the fight for the world championship title at the start of the Formula E race in Rome. While Pascal Wehrlein finished in the points with ninth at the wheel of his Porsche 99X Electric, his teammate António Félix da Costa was one of the unwitting victims of the spectacular multi-car crash in the race, and was forced to retire.

The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team travelled to the Eternal City as the leaders of the FIA ABB Formula E World Championship. However, the squad lost its top spot in the first of two races on the Circuito Cittadino dell’Eur. In temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius, the race on the 3.385-kilometre track – the longest on the Formula E calendar – did not yield the much-anticipated top results. Consequently, the outfit from Weissach lost the lead in the teams’ standings. With three races left this season, the team ranks second behind Envision Racing (243) with 233 points. Jaguar is third (213), with the Porsche customer team Avalanche Andretti (189) in fourth. Competing for the racing team owned by the American motor racing legend Michael Andretti, Jake Dennis (GBR) finished fourth and André Lotterer (GER) retired early.

In the drivers’ standings, the four most promising title aspirants have also been reshuffled. Pascal Wehrlein has dropped back to fourth place with 140 points. Ahead of him are Nick Cassidy (NZL/171) as the new leader, followed by Jake Dennis (166) and Rome-winner Mitch Evans (NZL/151). António Felix da Costa currently ranks seventh with 93 points, with André Lotterer (23) in 16th.

Race 13
Pascal Wehrlein headed into the race on the demanding street circuit around the Obelisco di Marconi from P10 at the wheel of his Porsche 99X Electric. By the time the race was red-flagged after the spectacular multi-car accident on lap nine of 27, Pascal had already advanced to seventh. However, his car was badly damaged in the accident and he was forced to pit for repairs during the red flag. As a result, he rejoined the race in twelfth place, before systematically progressing up the order to take the flag in seventh place. Due to a penalty, he was ultimately classified in ninth. António Félix da Costa, on the other hand, was one of the drivers shunted into retirement by the accident.

Comments on the Rome E-Prix, Race 13
Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport: « The most important thing today is that none of the drivers involved were injured in this serious accident. That takes top priority for us. At the same time, we are very concerned about the fact that speeds are no longer reduced appropriately during the yellow flags. This could be observed in both the race and qualifying today. Keeping drivers safe is our prime concern, so I find it incomprehensible that there are no penalties for setting top qualifying times in a sector with yellow flags. The safety of the drivers is the absolute priority for us. »

Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: « Pascal put in a very strong drive today and worked his way up from P10. When he slowed down because of the full course yellow on the obstructed track, he was shunted from behind by a rival. In the second half of the race, the damage to his car prevented him from continuing his earlier good form. Still, he battled his way into the points from the very back. Despite a strong race with many great overtaking manoeuvres, António unfortunately didn’t finish the race but we’re all very relieved that nothing happened to him and the other drivers in the accident. Now we have to use the pace we showed in today’s qualifying and get both cars into the duels tomorrow. »

Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): « That was a difficult day. It wasn’t at all clear in qualifying whether I’d make it into the duels. Some drivers improved their times under yellow, and this wasn’t penalised. Starting from P10 was disappointing after two good practice sessions. The race was chaotic. I lost my front wing in the very first lap when cars in front of me missed the corner but then I caught up. However, after the red flag, I had to pit for the second time because my car was badly damaged in the accident. In the end, a penalty also cost me two places. Hopefully, we’ll do better tomorrow. »

António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13): « That was a day of highs and lows. I didn’t get a second flying lap in qualifying because of the red flag, but my start in the race was great. I was in the points when the serious accident involving quite a few cars happened in front of me. I had no chance to avoid it and that was the end of my race. Fortunately, no drivers were hurt. I hope the team can repair my car by tomorrow. Then we’ll attack again. »

Viktoria Wohlrapp,