The NIO 333 Team, partnered by Acronis, returned from the season opening Diriyah ePrix with a healthy points haul courtesy of two points finishes from Oliver Turvey.
Following on from his tenth place finish in Friday’s opening round, Turvey was on form again making it through to the Super Pole shoot out and placing his car fourth on the grid. Despite losing a couple of places during the race, the Englishman was still able to pilot the NIO home to an impressive sixth after Jean-Eric Vergne was slapped with a 20 second time penalty for failing to take his final Attack Mode.
What a weekend it's been for the #NIO333FE Team in Rounds 1 & 2 of the 2021 @FIAFormulaE World Championship!
Here's a sneak peek of our highlights video coming soon featuring interviews and action from the team in Diriyah.@OliverTurvey @tom_blomqvist #AlwaysForward #ABBFormulaE pic.twitter.com/Quni1uOzp4
— NIO 333 Formula E Team (@NIO333FormulaE) February 27, 2021
“We had a good day,” said Turvey afterward. “It was great to make Superpole by topping my group in Qualifying and to get P4 was a great achievement. At the start of the race I managed to hold position; we struggled a bit for race pace, but I was fighting hard and managed to do the best with what we had. To finish in the points again today is a great achievement for the team and I am pleased to be in the points in both races this weekend. It shows that we have made progress since last season, so it’s definitely a good step forward. There is still some work to be do, but it is a good positive start to the season for the team.”
It may well have been even better for the team, had new driver Tom Blomqvist also converted his Super Pole grid slot of fifth into points but he was unfortunately taken out by Maximilian Guenther.
“Starting from the front we knew that it would be a tough race with some quick cars behind us,” said Blomqvist. “But even though we struggled a little bit for pace early on, towards the end I was able to save energy and have more than the cars ahead of me. Unfortunately, I then got taken out by Günther which dropped me out of the points, but I think we had a penalty anyway so that doesn’t really mean much.
“I’m disappointed not to have got any points in the race, because for sure we could have. The promising thing is that car is much improved and we can fight, so we just need to keep our heads down, keep working on the weaknesses and slowly build on that through the course of the season.”
Mixed emotions. Super pole and 5th on the grid. Running 9th before being taken out with a few laps to go. Unfortunately we had a penalty so didn’t count for much! Promising first round of the season for @NIO333FormulaE ! #DiriyahEPrix pic.twitter.com/fdk9VBjNp1
— Tom Blomqvist (@tom_blomqvist) February 28, 2021
Regardless of the Anglo-Swede’s misfortune, the team sits tenth in the standings with 9 points from the opening two rounds – already an improvement on the previous season.
“It was a good race,” added Christian Silk, NIO 333 FE Team Principal. “We came here with a target of scoring points, so to get a car in to the Top Ten in both races is spot on. It is an indication of the progress we have made that we are slightly disappointed not to have finished further up the field, but rest assured we will do our maximum to rectify this at the next race!
“The team has done a great job over the winter; our results from pre-season testing showed we had produced a reliable car and the results this weekend show that we have produced a quick one to. I want to thank everyone in the team once again for all their hard work, and our families who have supported us throughout.”