Andre Lotterer

Home teams confident of strong points haul in China

Only two weeks after touching down in Hong Kong for the first ‘home’ race of the season, Acronis partner teams DS TECHEETAH and NIO Formula E Team arrive in China full of confidence.

DS TECHEETAH was proud to announce in the lead-up to Hong Kong that it had signed a new three- year partnership with the global data back-up and, storage and cyber security experts and should have left celebrating a famous victory courtesy of a fine drive from André Lotterer but for a wildly ambitious overtake from DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird.

That now, of course, is history. Yet Hong Kong showed just what the team is capable of and Lotterer is already fully focused on securing that elusive first victory around the 11-turn, 2,236km track in Haninan’s capital city, Sanya.

Jean-Éric Vergne
Jean-Éric Vergne

“Although Hong Kong was beyond disappointing, I’ve now put it behind me as we re-focus on the next race and I’m keener than ever to get that win,” said Lotterer. The Sanya layout features a unique combination of very tight corners in sector two in medium speed combined with load corners in sector one and three. If can deliver a home win this week it would be incredible.”

Lotterer’s first task will be to get the better of teammate and reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne, the Frenchman keener than ever to kick-start his so far luckless season.

“Once again, I had an incident filled E-Prix in Hong Kong, we just don’t seem to catch a break this season,” said Vergne. “Two incidents within two laps is just not cool so we will do everything that we can to have a good E-Prix in Sanya now. It’s time to turn this bad luck around and it would be beyond good to do this at our home E-Prix.”

For the NIO Formula E team, things certainly seem to be looking up after Oliver Turvey’s battling ninth place finish in Hong Kong backed up a first points finish in Santiago.

“I am particularly excited for this new edition to the Formula E calendar in Sanya, it will be special to race for NIO in China,” said Turvey. “The circuit looks fast, with a number of long straights and overtaking opportunities, so I will certainly be aiming to continue our progress from the last race to fight for more points for NIO.”

Located on the shore of the South China Sea, NIO is sure to receive plenty of support from the local fans, guests and VIPs. Plenty of motivation, then for Tom Dillmann to open his points scoring account for his new team.

“Sanya is a new circuit for everyone which is always challenging,” added Dillmann. “I am looking forward to this event as it is a home race for the team and we will have a huge amount of support. My goal is to score championship points for the team, so I will be pushing hard all weekend.”

As far as the state of the championship goes, Britain’s Sam Bird still leads Jerome d’Ambrosio by a single point despite the disappointment of his demotion in Hong Kong. Next comes popular Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, level on points with surprise Hong Kong winner Eduardo Mortara, incredibly just two points separating the top four drivers in this tightest of championships.

With five different winners in as many races so far, Sanya could easily see another new name on the top step of the podium, a win for Lotterer or Vergne putting them right back in the title mix.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.