A SUCCESSFUL DAY FOR FORMULA E AND MICHELIN IN THE PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO
The second Monaco ePrix took place today in idyllic ideal weather conditions, allowing the crowd of almost 20,000 spectators to enjoy a quality of racing worthy of the Principality’s reputation as a longstanding home of topflight motorsport.
Grid order was always going to play a key role around the 1.76km street circuit, as Stéphane Sarrazin (Venturi Formula E Team) explained at his team’s press conference on Friday: “It’s never easy to overtake at Monaco so it is essential to qualify in the best possible start position if you want to stand a chance of winning.”
Track action kicked off early this morning with a free practice session that was marked by a number of accidents and tangles. As expected, qualifying turned out to be a fiercely-fought affair, with several drivers topping the order before Jean-Eric Vergne (TECHEETAH), Maro Engel (Venturi Formula E Team), Sébastien Buemi (Renault-e.dams), Nelson Piquet Jr (NEXTEV NIO) and Lucas Di Grassi (ABT Schaeffer Audi Sport) reached the final super-pole shootout phase, involving one flying lap each, one at a time.
Sébastien Buemi – who topped the championship standings prior to the visit to Monaco on 76 points – was accredited with the best effort (53.313s) and he was joined on the grid’s front row by second-placed Lucas Di Grassi (+0.237s).
The Monaco ePrix started at 4pm local time after a star-studded grid walk which included such international celebrities as the British model and actress Naomi Campbell, the president of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and his wife Michelle Yeoh, another actress. H.S.H. Prince Albert II de Monaco and his niece Charlotte Casiraghi presented the trophies after the finish.
Victory went to pole-winner Sébastien Buemi who was chased over the line mere tenths of a second later by the Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi, his chief rival. Their duel kept the Monaco ePrix spectators entertained throughout the 51-lap race, despite a safety car interruption due to a tangle between Jean-Eric Vergne and Nelson Piquet Jr.
“We are very pleased with how the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV2 performed in the streets of Monaco today,” reported Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “It was this tyre’s first appearance here at this famous venue which used a portion of the Formula 1 circuit. Thanks to the grip they delivered, the crowd was treated to a spectacular show, with high-speed cornering and hard acceleration out of the hairpins worthy of the sport’s more conventional competitions, but without the noise and the polluting emissions.”
The success of today’s Monaco ePrix illustrates the growth Formula E is continuing to enjoy in terms of manufacturer and sponsor interest, as well the close attention paid to it by the motor racing’s authorities,” added Michelin Motorsport director Pascal Couasnon. “The presence here of many of our partners allowed us to exchange views on our respective involvements and strengthen the bonds that exist between us. Michelin was amongst the FIA Formula E Championship’s founding partners and we are continuing to invest in this discipline which allows us to innovate. In addition to the success enjoyed by the new MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV2, which is acclaimed by the teams and drivers alike, I am delighted that this series is being seen as such a valuable development laboratory by all the parties who are involved.”
The next ePrix will take place on May 20 in the central Hotel des Invalides district of France’s capital, Paris.