Formula E: Accelerate travelled to the virtual Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit for Round 2 of its inaugural season. After a spellbinding first event, Erhan Jajovski could not have done much more. The Macedonian only missed out on one point of the 29 maximum available and was largely untroubled for the entire 25 minutes. Slovenia’s Kevin Siggy Rebernak was the driver to deny Jajovski a clean sweep by picking up the fastest lap in a heated battle for the podium.
Post-race, the stewards deemed that too much red mist surrounded the drive of Graham Carroll, the Scot receiving a time penalty which saw him drop from 2nd place to outside of the points; a sore point he hoped to address this week. Someone else looking for redemption was Frederik Rasmussen who bemoaned his misunderstanding of the qualifying procedure and was left scrapping in the midfield. Eager for a bigger slice of the (minimum) €100,000 prize pool and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive a Gen2 Formula E car, everyone was determined heading into Thursday evening.
With an official championship order now set, the Qualifying Groups took on a much greater role in power balancing the field. Group 1 would feature those at the sharp end of things, giving them a greener, and therefore, more difficult track to work with. Those in Group 4 would theoretically have the harbourfront in its prime condition giving them the best opportunity to post an optimum time.
With everything stacked against Jajovski, any pundit would have forgiven him an ‘off’ session but the championship leader made sure his credentials were there for everyone to see. A 58.174 at the time was enough to top Group 1 but as the rest of Qualifying unfolded, this time was proven to be a truly rapid effort. It was two pole positions in a row.
Siggy once again looked strong but was pipped by Porsche’s Golombeck, the two drivers within 0.07 of Jajovski. It was a less stellar session for Bono Huis, one of the other contenders for a New York podium. The Dutchman, along with teammate Jarno Opmeer, would find themselves down in P15 and P14 respectively by the end of the session. A miserable start for Mercedes-Benz EQ.
As part of Group 2, Rasmussen found himself in much better spirits. The Dane gave himself a great run and would land a spot on the front row of the grid. Group 3’s spotlight meanwhile fell onto Carroll who put in a respectable effort to achieve P6 for the grid. Jaguar’s Martin Stefanko was surely the surprise of the session however with the driver going into today plum last in the table notching up a time good enough for P5.
New York’s runner-up Manuel Biancollila was surely disappointed starting outside of the top ten, though not as disappointed as Jajovski’s teammate at Venturi, Lorenz Hoerzing, who unfortunately suffered internet issues that would force him into a DNS.
As the now 23-car grid got away, Jajovski was desperate to hold his lead into the first hairpin with an aggressive stance in front of Rasmussen. Behind, Golombeck was as unfriendly with Siggy, nearly introducing the Slovenian to one of the tight walls surrounding the circuit. The early mover was Graham Carroll finding their way up through a cautious Stefanko thanks to a rambunctious move into T2.
The following five minutes were hugely uneventful until, at last, one of the top ten took to Attack Mode. Olli Pahkala, 3rd in the 2017 VISA Vegas ePrix but without a point in Accerate 2021 thus far, unleashed the full power of his Mahindra onto Jan von der Heyde; another move completed into T2. This prompted a response from a number of drivers including those directly around Pahkala and indeed the leader who now looked to extend his one-second advantage over Rasmussen.
Siggy was also amongst this group and once again utilised his overtaking prowess to step up into the podium places at Golombeck’s expense. Petar Brljak was even more diligent passing not just Von der Heyde, but Pahkala briefly for 9th. The Croatian now in a great spot to score his first points of the season.
Much like Biancollila’s first half of the race in New York, Golombeck was starting to fall off the pace as Carroll used Attack Mode to dispose of the German with just over 13 minutes remaining. Seven minutes later and things would continue to look grimmer as Martin Stefanko made good usage of his second Attack Mode to throw Porsche’s lead driver out of the top five.
Despite a late rally from Rasmussen though, it was once again a well-controlled ePrix by Macedonia’s Erhan Jajovski. Never quite as comfortable as in New York, the fact still remained that he was not overtaken once during the entire 25 minutes.
Many drivers will be looking back to Hong Kong and wondering if they could have been more aggressive. The likes of Golombeck and particularly Rasmussen shall surely be questioning if greater risks would have seen greater reward in such a short championship. Another pole position and another win saw Jajovski extend his lead to the chasing pack with Kevin Siggy now the closest challenger some 25 points behind. The fastest lap will be some consolation to Rasmussen, who cements himself into the top three whilst Biancollila’s miserable outing ended in retirement – the Italian possibly out of contention already.
Venturi will be thanking their lucky stars as once again Jajovski ensured first place status in the Teams’. Brljak’s first points of the season allowed BMW their first double points score of the season whilst Dragon/Penske will be cheering a return they expected from Rasmussen in New York. The American outfit is up into third.
Round 3 will see Accelerate hit Europe for the first time as Berlin takes us into the half-way stage of the championship. Will Jajovski continue to dominate or can the likes of Siggy and Rasmussen pose a true threat to P1? Formula E: Accelerate returns February 11th, stayed tuned to Traxion for all the updates.
Formula E: Accelerate round two results
- E. JAJOVSKI – ROKiT VENTURI RACING – 25 LAPS
- F. RASMUSSEN – DRAGON/PENSKE AUTOSPORT – +0.896
- K. SIGGY – BMW i ANDRETTI MOTORSPORT – +3.286
- G. CARROLL – ENVISION VIRGIN RACING – +6.396
- M. STEFANKO – JAGUAR RACING – +12.033
- M. GOLOMBECK – TAG HEUER PORSCHE – +13.946
- R. KAPPET – NIO 333 – +14.325
- O. PAHKALA – MAHINDRA RACING – +15.256