Lotterer reflects on disastrous race for Porsche
Porsche driver Andre Lotterer has explained how the team’s fortunes fell apart in the Mexico City E-Prix after he scored its first ever Formula E pole position.
Lotterer took Porsche through to its first Super Pole shootout, which he topped by 0.063s over eventual race winner Mitch Evans.
But in the German manufacturer's fourth FE race he crashed out, while teammate Neel Jani finished last on the road, outside the points in 14th.
Lotterer lost first place on the run to Turn 1 when he ran wide after defending from Evans.
He told Motorsport.com: “I had a poor start with a lot of wheelspin, so we need to look in to that. Then I tried to keep the lead but Mitch had a bit of momentum and was quite aggressive in to Turn 1.
“We collided, he pushed me off from the apex and when I came back on track a Virgin [Sam Bird] hit me so it weakened my bodywork.”
Lotterer’s retirement proved dramatic when the front-right wheel fairing dropped on to the tyre to create a trail of smoke and a small fire. He pitted garage for repairs but was withdrawn from the race altogether.
Similar to Jean-Eric Vergne’s incident in the Santiago E-Prix, Lotterer had tried to remove the damaged bodywork by tagging a wall.
“You just hope it falls off,” Lotterer added. “I tried to touch a bit the wall so it could come off but it didn't.”
Asked if he thought Porsche had sufficient race pace to fight for a podium if he hadn't crashed, Lotterer said: “We didn't even get into a rhythm. Everyone was just ignoring the consumption, the strategy and then there was a safety car [caused by Nico Muller’s shunt at Turn 1].
“I believe we have a good car. We're still working on making it better."
Last week FE revealed the first images of its Gen2 EVO car, which will come in for the 2020/21 season. The refreshed design ditches the wheel covers to reduce the amount of potential debris.
Head of operations at Porsche Amiel Lindesay told Motorsport.com: “I think it's a good move to get rid of the covers.
“[Lotterer] got two taps from another car plus contact with a wall, then the bodywork was jammed under the suspension. The rest is history. [Currently] you get tangled up in the first corner and your race is done.”
Jani, who drove for Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship until it canned its 919 Hybrid LMP1 programme, was handed a penalty during the Mexico race. He had to serve a drive-through for not respecting the homologated throttle pedal map.
Lindesay added that the cause of the breach had not been diagnosed.
“Unfortunately, after the restart for the safety car we had a slight technical infringement with the homologated throttle map," he said. “We're still analysing exactly what happened to him. A bit more work is to be done back home.”
Jani is yet to score a point in his maiden FE campaign.
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