While Sebastien Buemi was credited with an eighth-place finish, the Swiss driver’s pace throughout the day indicated that success for the first-ever Japanese brand to join the championship could be just around the corner.
Nissan is using the Formula E series to demonstrate the performance side of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – the brand’s vision for how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.
The Nissan e.dams driver’s qualifying performances in the two races held so far in season five place him as the championship’s best-performing qualifying driver.
Buemi topped the times in the second qualifying group and finished second overall in the combined qualifying times. For the second race in a row, he started on the second row after recording the fourth-fastest time in the Super Pole shoot-out.
After making a great start for the second race in a row, Buemi leapt to third in the run to the first corner only to find the track blocked by the spinning car of Jean-Eric Verge who had suffered contact. Buemi was forced to run wide to avoid the incident and lost ten places.
Dropping back to 13th, the Nissan e.dams driver fought his way back up to eighth place at the checkered flag. In the process, Buemi recorded the second fastest lap of the race.
Buemi’s teammate Oliver Rowland impressed in the morning by recording the fourth and sixth-fastest times in the two practice sessions. A small issue and a mistake in qualifying put him 12th on the grid for his second race for the team.
The No.22 entry couldn’t replicate its early morning pace in the race with Rowland crossing the line in 15th place.
“This was not the result we were expecting after a great effort in the morning practice sessions and qualifying,” said Nissan global motorsport director, Michael Carcamo.
“We had a bit of bad luck in the first corner. Sebastien did everything he could to avoid the incident, but that put us in a compromised position. He did a great job to run back through the field to score points, and that certainly demonstrated that we were still competitive.
“These Formula E races can be very unpredictable with the short lead time between the sessions and the races only being 45-minutes long. A small issue on lap one can dictate the result of your race.”
Nissan e.dams will be back on track on Sunday for the Formula E rookie test day. Mitsunori Takaboshi (official test and reserve driver) and Jann Mardenborough (simulator driver) will be behind the wheel.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what Mitsunori and Jann can do tomorrow in the rookie test. They have been on the simulator for us during the week and both are looking forward to trying the track for real,” said Jean-Paul Driot, Nissan e.dams team principal.
“After today’s race, we are also setting our sights on Santiago. We will analyze where we and our competition is, in regards to overall pace and look at areas where we can improve.
“Our preparation is the same even if we won the race – doing our homework is imperative.”
Round three of the championship will be held in Santiago, Chile in only two weeks at the new 2.4km Parque O’Higgins circuit.
“Today was pretty frustrating after we qualified well again for Nissan e.dams. It was really promising but unfortunately, in turn one the Techeetah and the Virgin cars collided, and in avoiding them I lost ten places.
“I tried to push back through the field and eventually finished eighth, but things certainly could have gone a lot better today.
“The races with the new car and race format are very unpredictable. We’ve had two races so far with a sixth, and an eighth-place finish. Today we had the pace to be on the podium which wasn’t necessarily the case in the opening round.
“I want to take the positive out of today because we were quick and I’m very much looking forward to our next race in Santiago.”
“The day started well for me to be fourth and sixth fastest in the two practice sessions. In qualifying, I had a small issue, and I made a little mistake to end up 12th.
“I made a good start in the race, and we were there to fight, but unfortunately we didn’t have the pace. We need to go back and look at the data and look at why that was.
“It was another great learning experience for me, but it is a bit frustrating when you feel you have put into practice what I learned at the opening round, but it didn’t go to plan.
“I’ll now be working hard this week to prepare for Santiago with plenty of time in the Nissan e.dams simulator and training hard. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car in Chile.”