Today was not the day that NEXTEV TCR had really hoped for. However, after a superb drive from Oliver Turvey, points were salvaged for the team at their home race.
The day never really got off the ground for defending champion Nelson Piquet Jr. It started in FP1 when he crashed on pit exit. He finished last in the session 20 seconds off the pace. FP2 was slightly better, finishing 12th in a more uneventful session. The day soon got worse for the defending champion. He messed up his sole qualifying lap, placing him right at the back of the grid.
Piquet’s race started slow, he was at the back for the majority of the race until the pit stops. When the Full Course Yellow came out he took advantage and made his way up to P9, but just as his day was on the up, he had a problem that dropped him back down the order and was eventually lapped.
“This weekend has been difficult,” started Piquet. “Coming from winning a championship to a whole new season with a new car that we have had some problems with this weekend has of course been really frustrating. But part of being a driver is sticking together, working with the team and getting out of the hole together.
“It’s not just about being quick, but about building up a team and being on their side. It’s only the first race so I don’t think it will be like this all season, but we need to work hard to improve things.”
On the other side of the NEXTEV TCR garage, Turvey had a considerably better day in the office. He was in the bottom end of the top ten in FP1, and just outside it in the other. It didn’t work out that well in qualifying, however, only able to stick it P15 on the grid. He had been competing around the mid-teens, however, like his team mate, he pitted under the Full Course Yellow, which assisted him to get up to P7, the late retirement from Nico Prost moved him up an into P6, a fantastic finish for the Brit and the team considering where they had been earlier in the day.
Oliver described his day as “a great race, there was a bit of a mess at the start so I went straight into energy saving mode. We were able to catch up at the end of the first stint as the cars in front were struggling on energy levels. I managed to overtake Villeneuve which I was happy about and then the full course yellow while we were in the pits helped us jump up a few places.
“The second stint was fairly straightforward, we managed energy well and didn’t get pressure from behind. To get sixth here is a great result for me personally but also as after qualifying we were a bit disappointed with the pace of the car so the result was probably the best we could have achieved today. Thanks to the team for everything, it’s great to get some points on the board.”
Team Principal of NEXTEV TCR, Steven Lu, went on to say: “We played a risky strategy pitting late, but it worked out well as both drivers were able to come out of the pitstop in the top ten. We are delighted that Oliver was able to get in the points and disappointed that Nelson’s issue in the race stopped him from doing the same.
“It has been a difficult weekend for us but we will take the positives and work very hard before the next race in Malaysia on what we need to do to improve. Once again we have had a fantastic race in Beijing with the Chinese fans embracing Formula E and I am proud that NEXTEV TCR could race in the team’s home country.”
Jack Pickering | e-racing.net
Photo: FIA Formula E Media