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FE: High-speed Cape Town E-Prix ready to challenge drivers

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

THE fifth leg of Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E championship takes place in Cape Town, and all eleven teams are ready to attack the high-speed circuit.

The teams warmed up to the track with their second and final free practice session on Saturday Morning, with Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy ending on the top, beating out Maserati’s Edoardo Mortara in second by 0.307s, followed by NIO 333’s Dan Ticktum in third. 

The fast track allowed for Cassidy to set a new all-time fastest Formula E lap, at a speed up of 154.37 km/h. 

The South African crowd’s energy pumped ABT Cupra driver Kelvin Van der Linde who pushed in the session following a technical error that ended his first practice session minutes before the session ended. 

It is a Formula E debut for the South African on the same weekend his brother Sheldon, who is racing in Johannesburg. Johannesburg-born Van der Linde is in place of Abt Cupra teammate Robin Frijns, who is still nursing an injury from the first race in Mexico City. 

The Jaguar TCS Racing cars looked swift, as Mitch Evans bested teammate Sam Bird as they ended up in fourth and fifth place respectively. Bird will start the race with a five-place grid penalty following an incident at the hairpin in the Hyderabad E-Prix, which took both him and Evans out of the race. 

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Ahead of the race weekend, South African native and Jaguar TCS Racing Team Principal James Barclay said: “Having grown up in South Africa and watched the last world championship race there in 1993 at Kyalami, it is a proud moment for myself and the other South African members of the team to be part of the return of top tier racing to this passionate motorsport country.”

All eyes were also on current Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein of Tag Heuer Porsche, who ended in ninth place, a better position than his teammate Anthony Felix da Costa. Da Costa, who still ended in seventh place, had his session cut after he stopped at the chicane. 

Reigning champion and DS Penske driver Stoffel Vandoorne looked more comfortable handling the track ending in sixth place, with team mate and Hyderabad E-Prix winner Jean-Eric Vergne managing to grab 11th place. 

Despite the mixed reactions towards the South African track, the team’s DS Penske Performance director, Eugenio Franzetti, felt that the team’s win in India was the perfect motivation heading into the Cape Town E-Prix. 

“Winning the Hyderabad E-Prix lifted the morale of the whole team and showed us our huge potential once more. But straight away after that moment of great happiness, we got back down to work in order to improve our performances,” Franzetti said.

“Now we’re on the right road; the one that takes us towards our ambitious goals. At Cape Town we’ll be tackling another new track where the talents of our mechanics, engineers, and champion drivers will certainly make the difference.”

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The start of the Cape Town E-Prix is at 16h00 South African Standard Time.

By The African Mirror

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