Mortara holds off rivals in Marrakesh to take Formula E championship lead

Edoardo Mortara (black car)

Edoardo Mortara has leapt into the Formula E championship lead after an untouchable drive in Marrakesh.

The pack tried as they might to hunt down the Rokit Venturi contender but he held off multiple attempts and came home victorious after leading for most of the 45-minute-plus-one-lap affair.

Pole-sitter, Antonio Felix da Costa benefited from team orders to make a late attack on Mortara but it wasn’t enough and he had to settle for second, while Jaguar’s Mitch Evans made his way past the other DS Techeetah of Jean-Eric Vergne as the clock was running out to claim third.

Da Costa led the pack through the first laps, despite a heavy lock-up into the first corner, ahead of Mortara, Vergne, and Jake Dennis (Andretti).

Evans, having qualified sixth, made an impressive start and looked to get through Pascal Wehrlein and into fourth.

The Kiwi was demonstrably frustrated with the #94 Porsche ahead, but dispatched him into the final corner on the second tour.

The DS Techeetahs made the jump on the pack and both activated Attack Mode, with Mortara reacting to the move by following suit on the next lap.

Kiwi Nick Cassidy (Envision) had a disastrous run through the activation zone, slipping out wide on the dirt and spinning, dropping him from seventh to 14th.

Da Costa played his hand and took his second Attack Mode immediately after the first.

Once the rest of the front-runners had taken Attack Mode and the order settled after a lively opening period, Mortara led Oliver Rowland (Mahindra), from Da Costa, Dennis, and Evans.

At the 15-minute mark, Evans makes strides, elevating himself into third and setting his sights on Da Costa.

He rounded up the 2020 champion and then closed in on Mortara’s Venturi, which had been unchallenged since taking the lead.

Vergne then looked to make his way forward after conserving slightly more energy than those around him.

A charge from sixth, with team orders allowing him easily past his team-mate, put Vergne hot on the heels of the race leader Mortara.

He fell short and the Techeetah squad switched their contenders, allowing Da Costa a look in.

With under a minute to go, the Portuguese driver was hot on Mortara’s tail, the pair nearly inseparable.

Mortara responded to Da Costa’s pace and then some, pushing out an unmatchable gap on the final lap before taking the chequered flag.

Evans made his way around Vergne with Lucas di Grassi (Venturi), Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ), Dennis, Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ), Sam Bird (Jaguar), and Rowland completing the top 10.

In the driver’s championship, Mortara now has an 11-point margin over Vergne, with Vandoorne third and Evans fourth at only a further four points back.

Similarly, Venturi has usurped Mercedes-EQ in the teams’ title race, with DS Techeetah splitting them.

The Formula E season next picks up in New York City with a double header on July 16-17 (local time).

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