After numerous laps of testing with the team, Nathanael Berthon made his Formula E race debut with Team Aguri at the Beijing Olympic Park Circuit, ending the 26 laps in a respectable eighth position.
Having suffered from braking issues throughout qualifying, the Frenchman lined up on the grid in 17th place, one position behind team mate Antonio Felix da Costa.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”I’m very happy for the team and very happy go home with some points after my first race. The strategy was great but we did have a lot of luck. The level here is very high and you won’t often get that kind of luck in a championship like this.[/pullquote]
Confined to the back of the field, Berthon focussed on energy management in preparation for the sole mandatory pit stop of the day, ultimately doing enough to earn an extra lap over the majority of the field.
Following a Full Course Yellow, Berthon’s pit stop was timed to perfection and the former GP2 race winner rejoined the circuit in eighth as the rest of the field was restricted to 50kph.
From there on out it was a simple run to the flag as Berthon picked up a credible four points on his first ever Formula E race weekend.
“It’s amazing. If you had offered us eighth at the beginning of the race we’d definitely have taken it,” said an ecstatic Berthon.
“We have a lot of work to do if we want to repeat it at the next race – we had some issues, and the second car really didn’t feel good at all. That said, I have confidence in the team and I’m sure we can move forward from here.”
Mark Preston, team principal of Team Aguri, heaped praise on his new recruit, citing energy management as key to the result.
“I’m really pleased to get some points in the first race. Nathanaël did a great job – he didn’t drive like a series debutant. Energy saving is a very key part of this championship and he’s clearly got a talent for it. The strategy was brilliant too, so that’s a huge positive.
“Unfortunately, Antonio had an accident after a fantastic start, and we had a technical issue that meant he lost positions, too. These things happen, you have to learn from them and move on. There’s no doubt we’ve got work to do but to open with points is really pleasing.”
Topher Smith | e-racing.net
Photo: Team Aguri