Marrakesh ePrix: Costa claims victory and the championship lead in Morocco

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Antonio Felix Da Costa turned pole into victory with what was a comfortable lead in the end after an epic battle with Max Guenther.

The Portuguese held the lead at the start but would tactically drop behind Max Guenther to manage his energy mid-race, on his second Attack Mode, however, Da Cost would pounce, going on to cross the finish line 11.4 seconds clear of the field.

On a clean opening lap, it was Nyck De Vries who moved upto third in the Mercedes after Andre Lotterer ran across the chicane at Turn 5.

Unfortunately for the Dutchman, he would lose the place after being given a drive-through penalty for overpowering under regen.

As the action settled, Jean-Eric Vergne was making the biggest move at the front, moving up from 11th on the grid, while Evans was also making his way through the field having started last after the disaster in qualifying.

The leaders would take their first Attack Mode simultaneously with little impact on their position before Guenther made the move for the lead into Turn 1 with 24 minutes to go.

Lotterer took his first four minutes of extra power slightly later, which allowed him to repass Vergne for third, having briefly lost it going through the activation zone.

Da Costa takes his second Attack Mode a lap earlier than the BMW ahead, however, and retakes the lead from Guenther with a simple move.

Evans' charge continues as he makes his way up into the top 10, with Vergne upping his pace to pass Lotterer and then claim second with his second Attack Mode, creating a Techeetah 1-2 at the front.

Guenther was able to stay close to the two-time champion though and, as Vergne ran low on energy as the time ticked down, the BMW driver saw his first attempt heavily blocked into Turn 1, before finally reclaiming second into the penultimate corner on the final lap.

There was some confusion on if Vergne hit zero before or after the line but he held on to third as Sebastien Buemi made a late charge to fourth.

Mortara was fifth as Evans also gained multiple places late on to come from 24th to sixth in the Jaguar, highlighting how he would have been firmly in the battle for victory without the qualifying error.

The Kiwi also claimed the extra point for fastest lap.

Lucas di Grassi was seventh, as the race pace of Porsche again proved its biggest weakness with Lotterer dropping to eighth late on and teammate Alexander Sims stopping from fifth on the final lap.

Oliver Rowland clinched ninth and Sam Bird rounded out the points finishers in 10th.

Having run third early on, De Vries will be frustrated in 11th for Mercedes with teammate Stoffel Vandoorne only 15th on a bad day for the German manufacturer.

Evans' recovery was also highlighted by his teammate James Calado dropping to 16th from 10th as he continues to adjust to the challenge of Formula E.

Former F1 drivers Felipe Massa and Brendon Hartley were 17th and 19th respectively and Pascal Wehrlein's race was ruined by a puncture on his Mahindra, dropping him to 22nd.

Ma Qinghua rounded out the finishers having been lapped in a 45-minute + one lap race and Sims was the only driver not to make in the chequered flag in a surprisingly clean race despite all the action and overtaking.

At the front though, it was Da Costa's first win for Techeetah and it sees him take the lead in the championship by 11 points from Evans, as the top two begin to edge away from the rest of the pack.

Sims is 10 points back from the Jaguar driver in third as Max Guenther moves upto fourth with his second place in Morocco.

After two thrilling races in February, the series has a month off before reconvening in Rome on April 4th, where Evans will look to repeat his win from 12 months ago.

 

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