NextEV TCR Formula E Team: Berlin ePrix report
After the best qualifying result of the season team did not finish inside the top 10
Round eight, the penultimate venue of the 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship, took place today on the city centre streets of Berlin in Germany. The NextEV TCR Formula E Team was encouraged by its best qualifying result of the season, with Nelson Piquet Jr starting 5th and Oliver Turvey 7th. Oliver and Nelson finished in 12th and 13th respectively after suffering damage to their noses from the first chicane bollards.
Oliver had a strong start to the day, finishing second in the first free practice session of the day. He was drawn out in the first group of qualifying and impressed in the session, finishing quickest in his group. At the end of qualifying he had secured himself a ninth place start in the 48-lap race, but was promoted to seventh when the two Mahindra cars were later penalised for a tyre pressure infringement. On lap 1 of the race, Oliver settled into eighth and remained in that position until lap 11 when he was forced into the pits for a nose change after suffering damage from the first chicane bollards.
Emerging in 16th, he then passed Nelson to move into 15th on lap 16. He set the fastest lap of the race on lap 22, which was the benchmark until eventual race winner Sebastien Buemi improved on that time 11 laps later. On lap 35 he gained a position when Jerome D’Ambrosio pitted and then moved up again on lap 42, when Loic Duval made heavy contact with the wall. He gained a further place on lap 47, moving ahead of Ma Qing Hua, before crossing the finish line in 12th.
In the second free practice of the morning, Nelson posted the fastest lap time, despite having his session shortened due to technical issues. In qualifying, he was drawn out in group three, and set the second fastest lap of his session, securing a seventh overall starting slot for the race, later promoted to fifth; his highest qualifying position of this season. At the start of the race, he slipped down to 6th behind a charging championship contender, Lucas Di Grassi, and then moved back into 15th on lap 9 after he was ordered into the pits for a nose change after his car was also damaged by the first chicane bollards. He dropped a place on lap 16, moving into 16th and maintained position until lap 35. He then benefited from D’Ambrosio, Duval and Ma’s incidents, finishing the race in 13th position.
The season finale, a double-header, will take place at Battersea Park in London, UK on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July.
Oliver Turvey (Car #88): “I had a good start and was able to hold position and pace. I clipped the bollard at the first chicane and damaged the end of the front wing. The part of the wing that was damaged then fell off, but it didn't affect the handling of the car so it was frustrating to get a technical flag as this dropped us down the field and made things very difficult after this. We did have a strong FP2 and qualifying session here. New circuits like Paris and Berlin give us an advantage as everyone is having to learn the circuit for the first time together. We are doing a good job preparing for the new circuits, doing a lot of work in the simulator and with the engineers before we arrive at the track and this hard work is showing in qualifying.”
Nelson Piquet Jr (Car #1): “Oliver and I did a very good job with the car we had and qualified well. In the race our pace dropped down and we struggled a bit more with our car. In the first stint the officials sent me into the pits because I had a piece of loose wing from the start and that really ended the race for us. With the package we have, we need to be in the right place to take advantages when we can, and with the unscheduled pitstop for the nose cone change, that made that impossible today.”
Martin Leach, President, NextEV: "It was a difficult day after such a promising start; securing our best qualifying of the season with a P5 and P7. Both Nelson and Oliver clipped the bollards on the first chicane on lap one, which caused damage to the noses and sadly we were always on the back foot after that.”
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