Formula E

Formula E talking points: Günther guns for hat-trick as Bird returns to complete grid

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Formula E talking points: Günther guns for hat-trick as Bird returns to complete grid

Image credit: Eurosport

ByEurosport
30/04/2020 at 12:27 | Updated 30/04/2020 at 17:31

This Saturday, May 2 the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge returns with a full grid of Formula E drivers going head-to-head in support of UNICEF.

Here are the major talking points heading into Round Two which will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2 from 15:30.

Watch the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player

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Guenther gunning for Hat-Trick

BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Max Guenther has made himself the front runner for the online championship after taking the chequered flag in both the pre-season test race in Monte Carlo and Round One last week on the Hong Kong Harbour front.

The young German transferred his positive start in the ABB FIA Formula E season proper – where he became the youngest E-Prix winner ever at 22 and sits fourth in the driver standings – to the gaming world, where he made the most of an error by Mercedes Benz EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne to take victory in round one.

Vandoorne, who qualified in pole in the first round, will be looking to bounce back in what looks set to be a two-horse race for the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge title.

Bird returns to complete the Formula E grid

Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird joins the grid this week, meaning that the full ABB FIA Formula E Championship 24-man driver line-up will compete for the first time since they raced on track at the Circuit Moulay El Hassan in Marrakesh back in February.

The British driver will have big shoes to fill, as his stand in replacement – test driver Nick Cassidy – performed outstandingly in round one. Cassidy fought his way up to finish confidently in second place as runner up to Günther, crossing the line just a second behind the BMW man.

Bird suffering from internet woes on his home street leading into Round One admitted he has had to combat this through a 150-metre internet cable to reach the higher speed line – one of the many odd sporting stories brought about by the lockdown.

Hong Kong race winner Max Guenther

Image credit: Eurosport

Championship front runners have a point to prove

Round Two will provide a welcome opportunity for the drivers who were left frustrated after falling short of expectations last time out. Reigning Formula E champion Jean-Éric Vergne of DS TECHEETAH, as well as previous championship winners Sébastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi all fell to the back of the grid.

Current championship leader and teammate of Vergne, António Félix da Costa, also struggled, eventually crossing the line in 19th, and pre-race favourite Stoffel Vandoorne failed to capitalise on the will also be looking to right his wrongs, having fallen from pole position to finish fifth.

Level playing field as drivers take to fan-named circuit

Experience will mean even less this time out as the drivers will race on an unknown test circuit for the first time. After racing on iconic Formula E circuits in Monaco and Hong Kong, Formula E’s experienced driver line up will face a new challenge this week on an unfamiliar route.

The concept track – which was aptly named Electric Park by Formula E fans after an online poll this week – will add another dynamic to an already thoroughly unpredictable series.

Challengers continue to battle for a real-life seat

Saturdays race will be preceded once again by the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenger race, which gives the opportunity for some of the best sim racers on the planet the opportunity to show their skills and compete for a real life driving seat at a Formula E race weekend.

Victory in round one was taken by Australia’s Joshua Rogers, who will be joined by the rest of that race’s top ten – and this week’s quickest qualifiers from around the world will join the battle it out for the win in round two.

Guest racing in the Challenge grid will be Charlie Martin, Axel La Flamme and TAG Heuer Porsche reserve driver Simona de Silvestro.

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