It has been a great start to the season for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team in the 2019/2020 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. At the Diriyah E-Prix in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Porsche works driver André Lotterer (D) was second with his #36 Porsche 99X Electric in the first race of the season. The three-time winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race and 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) champion began the race around the 2.494-kilometre circuit to the northwest of the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, from seventh place on the grid. He gradually worked his way up through the field to secure second place on lap 30, behind winner Sam Bird (GB, Envision Virgin Racing). This means that Lotterer also has 18 points in the drivers’ standings after the first race of the season, putting him in second place behind Bird (26 points). The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is currently in third place in the team standings, behind Envision Racing (36) and Mercedes-Benz (23).
Lotterer’s team-mate Neel Jani (CH) finished in 17th place in the #18 Porsche 99X Electric, having been forced to start the race from 20th on the grid after a yellow-flag phase at the end of qualifying. The second race in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will take place tomorrow (Saturday 23rd November) on the Diriyah Street Circuit.
Quotes on the Diriyah E-Prix
Michael Steiner (Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development Porsche AG): “What happened today was just crazy. I hadn’t expected that. We are proud that we have reached the podium in our first race and we will go on the attack again tomorrow.”
Fritz Enzinger (President Porsche Motorsport and Group Motorsport Volkswagen AG): “What did we learn in Riyadh? Porsche can perform electrically too. Unbelievable – our first race and we made it to the podium. The work we put in over the past year and a half has paid off. André Lotterer was superb and Neel Jani drove well too. A huge thank you to everyone involved in the project and to all our Porsche colleagues who had their fingers crossed for us. Now we are concentrating fully on the second race.”
Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “That race went like a dream – and we were already feeling positive after qualifying. Reaching the podium on our first attempt, what more could we wish for? We will continue to work hard and attempt to repeat today’s success.”
André Lotterer (Porsche 99X Electric, #36): “A great debut for all of us: second place. When I told the team a few weeks back that I wanted to reach the podium, they all looked at me like I was mad. And now we’ve done it with hard work and a bit of luck. Qualifying went OK and we finished seventh. I started the race quietly enough, paid attention to my energy management and was able to use ‘Attack Mode’ early to get past a few other cars. At the end, I thought we were even in with a chance of winning the race, but I didn’t want to take too many risks. Starting off with a second-place finish isn’t too bad.”
Neel Jani (Porsche 99X Electric, #18): “Firstly, congratulations to André and the whole team. Reaching the podium in our first race shows that we have done some good development work. Qualifying was not ideal for me and I had to start the race from way back. However, I had found the right pace and rhythm by the middle of the race. I will build on that tomorrow.”