Posted 10 March, 2019 at 16:54
NIO celebrated a deserved return to the ABB FIA Formula E Championship points on the streets of Hong Kong today, Sunday, 10th March, with Oliver Turvey securing a hard-earned ninth place finish in the category’s landmark 50th e-Prix.
Starting an uncharacteristic 19th on the grid, after struggling to get heat into his front tyres in a rain-affected qualifying session, Turvey produced a great performance for NIO in the first of the team’s two ‘home’ races this year. Team-mate Tom Dillmann enjoyed a season-best performance in qualifying with 11th place, and ended a rollercoaster race in 12th spot.
With rain ceasing ahead of the HKT Hong Kong e-Prix itself, track conditions did improve to a large extent but grip was still at a premium. Dillmann and Turvey both made it safely through the tight right-hander at the start, although the Frenchman was then shuffled back behind his British team-mate and, by the end of the lap, Turvey was 14th and Dillmann 18th.
On lap two Turvey gained another place into 13th and Dillmann leapt into the top 15 prior to the appearance of the Safety Car and eventual red flag. The race action resumed with around 38 minutes remaining on the clock and both NIO drivers consolidated their positions.
Dillmann dropped to 16th after being hit and pushed wide with just under half an hour to go but then, as a number of rivals encountered trouble, Turvey moved through into the top 10 and Dillmann recovered to 13th. After another Safety Car late-on, and dramas for race leader Andre Lotterer, Turvey broke into ninth and Dillmann took the flag to finish in 12th place.
Oliver Turvey, Race Driver, NIO Formula E Team:
“It has been a really tricky day with the weather conditions. We had a great start and strong first lap where I was able to move up six places to P13. It was a tricky race with lots of safety cars and restarts but we managed it well and made the most of it, the race dried out and our pace was pretty reasonable. It is difficult to overtake here in Hong Kong but we were able to move forwards and finish in the points.”
Tom Dillmann, Race Driver, NIO Formula E Team:
“We had strong pace in the wet and were competitive in the wet conditions both in practice and qualifying. I was happy to post my best position in qualifying so far this season. If I had not lost my position at the start we could have finished in the points so it is frustrating, but we are making progress which is important.”
Gérry Hughes, Team Principal, NIO Formula E Team:
“Clearly, today’s weather conditions have presented some of the most challenging operating conditions that we have witnessed in Formula E to-date. Having said that, it is the same for all of the drivers and teams. It is fair to say that we did not capitalise on our potential in qualifying during the changeable conditions this morning, and that hurt us going in to the race this afternoon. It was an eventful race for all the wrong reasons, but coming away from the Hong Kong e-Prix with some points is at least some return for the team’s continued efforts in keeping pace with our competitors.”
The second of two back-to-back Formula E events in the Far East will take place just under a fortnight from now on Saturday, 23rd March, in China – the Sanya e-Prix.
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