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The ‘Mother City’ will welcome the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for the first time this weekend, in the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix.
For the second time in as many races, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will travel to pastures new this weekend (25 February) for the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix – as the pioneering series makes its debut in sub-Saharan Africa.
One of four new additions to the schedule in Season 9, the 2.921km, 12-turn Cape Town Street Circuit will wind its way around the Mother City’s famous stadium in the Green Point district, not far from the popular V&A Waterfront and with both Signal Hill and the iconic Table Mountain in the background.
The fast, flowing layout is predicted to be one of the quickest on the 2022/23 Formula E calendar – making it perfectly poised to showcase the full potential of the ground-breaking Gen3 single-seater, which has already generated some sensational racing over the opening four rounds. Indeed, if the evidence so far is any indication, the on-track action in South Africa looks likely to be every bit as spectacular as the circuit setting.
Porsche power continues to reign supreme in the hunt for honours, with TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein leading the way from Jake Dennis – the pair having dominated the first three races of the campaign. Although not quite such a threat last time out in Hyderabad, fourth place for Wehrlein – who benefitted from a number of other drivers’ misfortunes – saw the German extend his advantage at the top of the table to 18 points.
Dennis was amongst those to find themselves out of luck in India, rising through the field from 11th on the grid into podium contention only to then be hit from behind. Such has been his and Wehrlein’s superiority, however, that the Avalanche Andretti ace is still 31 points – more than a race win – clear of ‘best-of-the-rest’ Jean-Éric Vergne.
The Frenchman vaulted up the standings courtesy of his 11th career victory in Hyderabad, unleashing a defensive masterclass to get DS Penske’s bid for glory firmly up and running. Fellow former champion Sébastien Buemi (Envision Racing) seemed set to join him on the rostrum after taking the chequered flag third, until a post-race penalty for over-power use demoted the 2015/16 title-winner to 15th.
Team-mate Nick Cassidy, by contrast, did ascend the podium in India, producing a superb display to climb from ninth to the runner-up spoils – with only Vergne’s steely nerve and inch-perfect placement in the closing laps denying the New Zealander a second Formula E success.
The Envision man is tied on points with Jaguar TCS Racing’s Sam Bird, the Briton a top three-finisher in Diriyah but the instigator of a misjudged overtaking attempt in Hyderabad that removed both himself and stablemate Mitch Evans – the pole-sitter and early race leader – from the reckoning. Spurred on by that double disappointment, the Jaguar duo will be fired-up in South Africa to fulfil the promise they have shown.
One of the standout performers of the initial stages of the campaign, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team rookie Jake Hughes struggled last time out but is targeting a return to the sharp end in Cape Town, as Rast in the sister car endeavours – much like Bird – to atone for his Indian error.
António Félix da Costa began to reveal some of the form that made him a runaway champion in 2019/20 in Hyderabad, reaching the rostrum for the first time for TAG Heuer Porsche following Buemi’s penalty – a strong effort that he will be bidding to build upon this weekend.
Lucas Di Grassi, conversely, has not scored for Mahindra Racing since his own podium appearance in last month’s Mexico City curtain-raiser, meaning the Season 3 title-holder will be aiming to get his challenge back on-track in the ‘Rainbow Nation’.
Sérgio Sette Câmara is eager to maintain the momentum of his best result in almost two years – and NIO 333 Racing’s best in more than 60 races – after winding up an excellent fifth in India, while South Africa’s Kelvin van der Linde is keen to shine on home soil as he continues to deputise for the injured Robin Frijns at ABT CUPRA Formula E Team.
There are, finally, still a number of big names yet to settle into their stride in the Gen3 era. Defending champion Stoffel Vandoorne has just five points to his name for DS Penske, with Maserati MSG Racing’s Edoardo Mortara and Maximilian Günther even further down the order. Indeed, the latter – who set the pace during pre-season testing – has failed to trouble the scorers at all, but having demonstrated improved speed in Hyderabad, the high-profile trio will hope to enjoy an upturn in fortunes in Cape Town.
Round five of the 2022/23 Formula E campaign will get underway at 16:03 local time (15:03 CET) on Saturday, 25 February.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2023
– Introduction of the smaller, lighter and faster Gen3 cars
– Races will run to a set number of laps rather than time, in a bid to make them simpler to follow while allowing teams more control over their own strategies.
– The Safety Car or Full Course Yellow neutralisations will be compensated by added laps rather than added time.
Please find here the 2022 – 2023 Sporting Regulations.
THE 2023 TRACK
Opening Hours of the Media Center
– Thursday 23 February: 09:00 – 18:00
– Friday 24 February: 08:00 – 19:00
– Saturday 25 February: 07:00 – 21:00
2023 CAPE TOWN E-PRIX TIMETABLE
|Friday 24 February|
|17:00||17:30||00:30||FREE PRACTICE 1|
|Saturday 25 February|
|09:10||09:40||00:30||FREE PRACTICE 2|
|11:40||11:52||00:12||QUALIFYING Group A|
|11:57||12:09||00:12||QUALIFYING Group B|
|Friday 24 February|
|12:30 – 12:45||Team Representatives FIA Press Conference|
|James Barclay – Jaguar TCS Racing|
|James Rossiter – Maserati MSG|
|Alex Hui – NIO 333|
|12:45 – 13:00||Drivers FIA Press Conference|
|Jean-Éric Vergne – DS Penske|
|Sacha Fenestraz – Nissan Formula E Team|
|Kelvin Van Der Linde – ABT CUPRA Formula E Team|
|13:00 – 13:20||Media Pen (All drivers)|
|Saturday 25 February|
|17:35 – 17:50||FIA Press Conference (Top 3 drivers)|
|17:50 – 18:10||Media Pen|
2023 CAPE TOWN E-PRIX ENTRIES
2023 ABB FIA FORMULA E WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS
The classification of the 2023 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is available on the following link.
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