NEXTEV TCR Formula E TEAM: Punta del Este ePrix report
Oliver Turvey crossed the finish line in 12th position, Nelson Piquet Jr’s race came to a premature end.
The sun-soaked streets of Punta del Este played host to the third round of the 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship. After 33 laps of action-packed racing, NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team’s Oliver Turvey crossed the finish line in 12th position, whilst, with just a few corners to go, Nelson Piquet Jr’s race came to a premature end.
Oliver was drawn out in the first qualifying group and set the 10th quickest time of the session with a lap time of 1:16:154. Dropping one place at the start, Oliver ran strongly in P11 during his first stint before pitting on lap 16. Oliver made a seamless driver change, but due to an issue with the team’s timing screen, Oliver was released from his pit stop a couple of seconds early. As a result, he was handed a drive through penalty, which saw him drop down the field from P8 to P12, just outside of a points finish.
Nelson was drawn out in the first group for qualifying. Setting a lap time of 1:16:300 saw Nelson line up on the 6th row of the grid in P12. In the opening stint, Nelson maintained twelfth position and, due to excellent energy management, was able to stay out later than most cars and pitted on lap 18. After the first round of pit stops Nelson was up to 10. On lap 26 Nelson made a move on Jean-Eric Vergne for P9 and moved up to P8 a lap later. In the final laps there was a close battle for P8 between Nelson and Vergne. On the final lap, Vergne made a move for P9 but Nelson defended well and maintained position. However on the next corner the rear end of the car snapped out and made contact with the wall, bringing his race to a premature end.
Oliver Turvey (Car #88): “It was a disappointing race after a strong qualifying session. To start inside the top ten was a good achievement and the best result of the season so far. At the start we seemed to lose a bit of ground to the guys ahead and dropped a position. After this I was able to keep on the tail of the guys in front until we pitted on lap 16. The driver change was one of the quickest we have done all season but unfortunately we left the pits a few tenths of a second too soon so I was given a penalty. It was disappointing to get the penalty as without it we would probably have got a points finish.”
Nelson Piquet Jr (Car #1): “When Vergne made a move on me, he went a bit wide so I was able to pass him back. We touched wheels and on the next quick left-hander I lost control of the car. I’m not 100% sure what caused it, something may have broken when we touched wheels, but the car just snapped and I made contact with the wall. It’s a shame that it happened right at the end of the race. I think we would have finished top ten, which would have been a good result for us today. Tomorrow we have a full day testing and we will keep pushing for improvements. We saw in the race what we’re still lacking but also where we have improved. The whole team wants to keep moving forwards, so everyone is working very hard.”
Martin Leach, President, NEXTEV: “It was good to see the improvements in our qualifying pace, as ultimately that’s what will set us up for stronger race finishes. The race was quite eventful and it was disappointing that Oliver was given a drive through because of exiting the pits under the allotted time. Nelson was having a great dice in the closing laps of the race, when the rear end of the car snapped out and he made contact with the wall, so as a team we’ve come away with no points which is a shame after all the effort that the team have put in.”
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