Mark Preston: Marrakesh E-Prix 'will shake up the grid further'
DS Techeetah Team Principal Mark Preston believes that this weekend's Marrakesh E-Prix will shake up the Season Five Formula E grid further following a chaotic and unpredictable season opener in Ad Diriyah.
With a tally of 29 points, DS Techeetah head to Marrakesh as the current leaders of the Teams' Championship, holding a slender lead of one point over BMW i Andretti Motorsport.
With practice in Ad Diriyah being cancelled while qualifying was rescheduled and restructured following delays due to poor weather, the race in the desert was largely unpredictable, with a lack of previous running on the circuit jumbling up the field.
With both Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer falling victim to a drive-through penalty for exceeding power usage under regeneration, the pair were relegated to fifth and seventh on track after previously running in first and second, recovering to take second and fifth respectively.
"We had a really good first race together as a new team, DS Techeetah, and it was a proud moment to watch everything come together during the race weekend," said Preston.
"We definitely had our challenges, and I think we pretty much had every curve ball there was thrown at us, but the team handled them very well and came out on top.
“Ad Diriyah was a great start to the season for us but we now look to our next challenge, the Marrakesh E-Prix which we believe will shake up the grid further.
"Having raced at the circuit previously will give us some advantage but as it’s the first time that we take the DS E-Tense FE19 there, we will have a lot of work to do."
Currently occupying second in the Drivers' Standings, reigning Formula E champion Vergne heads to Morocco with a hunger for more success, longing to leave the north African country on a high note after struggling on the circuit in the past:
“Being so close to the victory in the first round has left me very hungry for more and it’s what my focus is all about right now," he said.
"Marrakesh hasn’t been a good track for us in the past so I’m hoping that we can change that and leave Morocco on a high note this year. It still a very long way to go and we know that we need to continue to be razor sharp for the rest of the season.”
Lotterer added: “I’m looking forward to coming back to Marrakesh to better my result from last year. It’s a track that I enjoy driving and we’re competitive, so it’s going to be a joy to hit the track for the first time in 2019.
"We showed that we’ve got pace in Ad Diriyah, but the season is long and we’re expecting some good fights on track for the remaining races.
"Formula E has really hit a new level this year in terms of the quality of racing and the wider entertainment product and it’s so nice to see the championship going from strength to strength each season.”
The Marrakesh E-Prix will take place on January 12 while Formula E's second of three in-season test sessions will take place one day later, with DS Techeetah running Tatiana Calderon and James Rossiter.