Following on from one of the most dramatic Formula E races in recent memory, teams arrive in the bustling hive of activity that is downtown Hong Kong for round five of this most enthralling of championships.
With four different winners in as many races, there is certainly all to play for with exactly a third of the season gone as the series celebrates a landmark 50th ePrix.
Reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne currently sits an unaccustomed eighth in the standings with teammate Andre Lotterer sixth. But with the Chinese DS TECHEETAH team buoyed by announcing a new technology partnership with cyber protection and data backup experts Acronis, a return to winning ways could be just around the corner at their ‘home race’.
Acronis is very excited to announce a new cyber protection partnership with @DSTECHEETAH #FormulaE Team. It’s great to be part of the #DSTfamily from #HKEprix onwards! #TeamUpWithAcronis https://t.co/GspbQPEuBM pic.twitter.com/r1GtntuACR
— Acronis (@Acronis) March 7, 2019
“Hong Kong has been good to us in the past, it’s a track that we know and that we like so it will be good to come back,” said DS TECHEETAH Team Principal Mark Preston. “We’ve been quite unlucky the last couple of races having been at the receiving end of some accidents, so we don’t feel like we’ve been able to show our strength just yet. Hopefully, it will be a clean race and we can secure a strong result.”
Vergne himself is a big fan of the circuit and a good qualifying result is the aim of the game as he looks to avoid being caught in midfield congestion yet again.
“The Hong Kong Circuit has one of the best locations of the whole calendar. We’re right in the middle of Central Hong Kong with the iconic Ferris wheel and the skyscrapers in the background,” said Vergne. “Aside from crossing the chequered flag at qualifying with the nose going forward this time, all I want is a clean, incident-free race. Being in the middle of the pack has really caused us issues so far this season and I’m keen to show off the pace in the car and all we need is a clean race to do so.”
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— DS TECHEETAH (@DSTECHEETAH) March 4, 2019
“I love racing in Asia and especially in Hong Kong.” Added teammate Lotterer. “The scenery is amazing and it’s the first time that are we gonna hit a proper street circuit with the Gen 2 car so I’m looking forward to that action. Our car should be better there then at the last two races so I hope to score some big points.”
For NIO Formula E, also partnered by Acronis, the race is likewise a home from home for the Chinese electric car company. As such, there will be fans aplenty cheering on drivers Oliver Turvey and Tom Dillmann around the challenging layout.
Having collected the first points for the team in Chile, Turvey will be relishing the challenge of a circuit he has had prior success on – in season 3 he was on the front row of the grid next to teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. before eventually finishing eighth.
“I am really looking forward to racing in Hong Kong, it is a fantastic central location with one of the most iconic city skylines as a backdrop,” said Turvey in NIO’s team preview. “Although we have had a tough start to the season, we have previous experience on this tight street circuit where we have been able to show strong pace over the past two years. So I’ll be aiming to score the best result possible for NIO this weekend.”
Hong Kong's 1.850km circuit around the Central Harbourfront may have the least turns of the championship so far but this won't detract from the wheel to wheel action 🏎#NIOFormulaE #BornToPushLimits #ABBFormulaE #AcronisRacing #HKEPrix pic.twitter.com/nc9KN2aXyt
— NIO Formula E Team (@NIOFormulaE) March 6, 2019
Teammate Dillmann faces a rather different challenge to his more experienced teammate as this will be the first time he has raced around the stunning harbor location. And with rain forecast for the next few days in Hong Kong, it could be a baptism of fire.
“Hong Kong is a new circuit for me and one I am looking forward to,” added Dillmann. “We have been preparing by working hard in the simulator to learn as much as we can. The track is quite different to anything that we have had so far with it’s stop and go layout, so it will be challenging, and the weather could also play an important part.”
"The track is quite different to anything that we have had so far with it’s stop and go layout, so it will be challenging, and the weather could also play an important part." Read more from @TomDillmann here: https://t.co/jPtBh1I3Ni
#BornToPushLimits #AcronisRacing #HKEPrix pic.twitter.com/vesGNHgInB
— NIO Formula E Team (@NIOFormulaE) March 6, 2019
Mahindra’s Jerome d’Ambrosio leads the drivers’ championship standings following on from his victory in Marrakesh with only a point separating second placed Antonio Felix da Costa and Britain’s Sam Bird in third.
Top image: © DS TECHEETAH.