Felix Rosenqvist salvaged fifth place in Saturday’s Punta del Este E-Prix, retaining second overall in the Formula E drivers’ standings with half the season now completed.
On his first visit to Punta del Este, Rosenqvist endured a challenging day on the fast streets of the Uruguayan seaside resort, clattering the wall on a quick lap in qualifying and being forced to start from 12th on the grid.
The Mahindra Racing Swede initially lost a couple of places on the opening lap, but then gradually began to pick off his rivals.
He completed the first stint in seventh place, and – following another rapid pit stop (Rosenqvist topped the pit stop timings at the previous race in Mexico City) – ran sixth for most of the second stint.
There was trouble in the final 12 laps, however, as a malfunctioning beacon receiver meant Rosenqvist was left without critical in-car dashboard information regarding energy levels and consumption.
Handicapped by the issue, he had to slow and let the chasing Mitch Evans past for position, dropping to six seconds behind the New Zealander amid the uncertainty of how much energy he could use.
Once finally reassured by the Mahindra Racing engineers that consumption was under control, Rosenqvist managed to once again speed up in the closing stages, reclaiming fifth at the expense of Alex Lynn and eventually crossing the line just two tenths behind Evans.
Despite the troubles, Rosenqvist remarkably finished just 4.2 seconds behind race winner Jean-Eric Vergne, the Frenchman extending his championship lead to 30 points with six out of 12 races completed.
Rosenqvist remains second overall, with Sam Bird still in third.
“It was a difficult day for us, and to come away from here with fifth is actually decent damage limitation under the circumstances,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I made a small mistake in qualifying, glancing the wall, and then in the race we had a problem with the beacon receiver which meant I didn’t have any information about remaining laps, energy levels and so on. That’s one of the worst things that can happen in a Formula E race.”
Rosenqvist believes a podium would have been realistic without the issue.
“We got on top of it a few laps before the end, and I was the fastest car on track at that point,” Rosenqvist concludes. “I definitely think without that issue we would have been on the podium today, even from 12th on the grid, because the pace itself was strong. We lost a likely win in Mexico and some more points today, but we’re still in the run and we’re all determined to do an even better job in the second half of the season.”
The next E-Prix takes place on the streets of Rome, Italy, on April 14. One week prior to that, however, Felix Rosenqvist will conduct his debut in Japan’s Super GT series as that season gets underway at Okayama on April 7-8.
RESULTS (top five)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 6/12 | Punta del Este E-Prix
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 37 laps
2: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), +0.447s
3: Sam Bird (GBR), +2.611s
4: Mitch Evans (NZL), +4.075s
5: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +4.224s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 6/12 races
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 109 p.
2: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 79 p.
3: Sam Bird (GBR), 76 p.
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), 52 p.
5: Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA), 45 p.