Gunther
Gunther led the charge to put himself at the top of the drivers' standings - Image Credit: © ABB Formula E via Youtube

The first round of the Formula E Race At Home Challenge takes place at the Hong Kong City Street Circuit, where championship points are now mixed into play.

Following Maximilian Gunther’s pole and win at the test round, a handful of changes were made ahead of this virtual season of nine races.

They included:

  • Damage increased up from 25% to 80%
  • Pascal Wehrlein and Sebastien Buemi joining the real-life FE driver grid
  • Race Royale/Elimination-Style updated – Eliminations will now start a lap later and finish a lap earlier, leaving 12 drivers left to gift to the checkered flag
  • Championship points (awarded like in the real championship – top 10 awarded points & one point offered for fastest lap in the race and one for pole position during qualifying)

For more details on the Race At Home Challenge and the schedule that will take place, follow here to the report on the Test Round.

Stoffel Vandoorne of the Mercedes-Benz EQ team set a pole time of 59.802 in Group 1, and started on the grid ahead of Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein (59.900), and Maximilian Gunther (59.974) – the top 15 were covered by one second.

As we went green in Hong Kong, the drivers at the front went three-wide into Turn 1 and the field crowded together.

At the front, Vandoorne held his lead but was followed closely by Nick Cassidy in the Envision Virgin Racing, while Gunther, in his BMW i Andretti Motorsport car, tailed their leading pack of four.

 

Cassidy fights for P2 with Wehrlein on Lap 1 – Image Credit: © ABB Formula E via Youtube

 

The field was packed for a few laps but eventually, the eliminations started to kick in.

With damage increased to 80%, Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s James Calado was caught out in the closely-nature of street racing. It saw him retire from the race for good after a collision seven laps into the race.

Pole-sitter Stoffel Vandoorne led until a mistake at Turn 3, before the chicane, dropped him to P6 behind Oliver Turvey in his NIO 333.

The Belgian had crashed into the wall and escaped any serious damage; he was on his pursuit back to the front as he re-joined in P5.

Meanwhile, Gunther began to build up a gap to Nick Cassidy that would slowly increase throughout the race.

Image Credit: © ABB Formula E via Youtube

 

 

Fair moves were being made into the braking zones at Turn 3 and Turn 1, but also elsewhere too.

One of the handful of battles that took place, was between the two Olivers: Rowland of Nissan e.Dams and Turvey in the NIO 333.

Over four laps, Rowland came close to passing in the first and final sectors but they both put on a good show nonetheless.

Turvey defended from Rowland for a good few laps (Turn 3) – Image Credit: © ABB Formula E via Youtube

Antonio Felix Da Costa was eliminated by lap nine to join fellow birthday boy and teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, turning 30 years-old today (he already retired earlier due to connection issues).

In the final four laps, only 16 drivers were still in the running.

Gunther led ahead of Cassidy in second and Wehrlein in third, and settled into their positions.

Winner of the 2019 Hong Kong E-Prix (in real-life) Edoardo Mortara for Rokit Venturi Racing failed to make it to the finish as he was eliminated at the end of lap 14.

Gunther took the checkered flag, with Cassidy behind and Wehrlein in third. Rounding off the points was Gunther’s teammate Sims, who crossed the line in 10th, making it a double points finish for the BMW i Andretti Motorsport squad.

A fair birthday drive for Mortara’s teammate Felipe Massa as he claimed a P8 finish.

“Even though it’s not the real world, we’re all competitive and we want to be at the front,” Gunther reflected as he asserted a consecutive win (the first at the test round in Monaco).

Formula E Race at Home Challenge – 2020 Calendar
Date Race Time (British Summer Time)
April 18 (Completed) Pre-Season Test Round 15:30 BST
April 25 (Completed) Round 1 15:30 BST
May 2 Round 2 15:30 BST
May 9 Round 3 15:30 BST
May 16 Round 4 15:30 BST
May 23 Round 5 15:30 BST
May 30 Round 6 15:30 BST
June 6 Round 7 15:30 BST
June 7 Round 8 – Grand Final 15:30 BST

 

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