The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF returns this Saturday, with four drivers beginning to pull away at the top of the championship. Here are your major talking points ahead of round four as the eight-race series reaches the halfway point broadcast live Saturday May 16 at 15:30 on Eurosport 2.
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BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Maximilian Guenther has been the clear favourite for the championship since before it even started, having taken victory in the pre-season test event and then dominating both opening rounds to open a commanding points lead.
But any sense of cruising to the title was given pause for thought after a poor qualifying lap to start sixth on the grid last time out in Monaco – but the young German was still able to recover well to finish in third place on the podium.
But with the rest of the pack improving and Mahindra Racing driver Pascal Wehrlein cutting his fellow countryman’s lead at the top to just 20 points, Guenther will be itching to get back out on track to win outright and extend his lead once more.
‘Grand Slam’ Wehrlein on the charge
Hot on his heels will be round three race winner Pascal Wehrlein, who will be eager to build on a sublime performance last time out to put himself further in contention at the top of the championship.
The Mahindra man achieved what he descried as a ‘grand slam’ last time out, by securing Julius Baer pole position, setting the TAG Heuer fastest lap and completing a comprehensive lights-to-flag victory on the famous Monaco streets.
Pascal Wehrlein will be keen to build on previous performances
Image credit: Eurosport
This was a week after he had reeled Guenther in to just three-tenths of a second before a lapse in concentration resulted in a crash.
But having made his way into second place in the overall driver standings the 25-year-old will look to chase down Guenther further by outperforming him in the return to Hong Kong.
Chasing pack vying to turn consistency into victories
Behind the two German leaders the competition is still very much alive with consistent performers Stoffel Vandoorne of Mercedes-Benz EQ and Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns aiming to convert their solid performances into a victory and increase pressure at the top.
Vandoorne has been the ‘nearly man’ of the series so far – failing to convert back-to-back Julius Baer pole positions into a race win in the opening two rounds to finish fifth twice. But a dependable drive from the Belgian driver him on the podium in second-place last time to stay within touching distance of Wehrlein.
Stoffel Vandoorne (r) with Fernando Alonso (l)
Image credit: Getty Images
It’s been a similar story throughout for Dutchman Frijns who has returned double points for his Envision Virgin team in every race, including a second-place finish in round two. Can he go one better in round four?
Bird returns to Hong Kong with score to settle
The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF will return to the Hong Kong Harbourfront, where Maximilian Guenther won the opening race of the series last month.
The race will mark a first return to the famous track for Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird – who was forced to miss round one due to a poor internet connection at his home – a problem rectified by a 150m cable bought by the Englishman.
Sam Bird at the Santiago de Chile Formula E e-Prix
Image credit: Michelin compétition
Bird will be keen to make amends after he was denied a real-life victory on the same circuit in last season’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship race following a time penalty for controversially making contact with then DS TECHEETAH driver Andre Lotterer, now at TAG Heuer Porsche, on the final lap.
Siggy spreading stardust on Challenger Grid
Sim driver Kevin Siggy will be looking to build on his accelerating momentum on the Challenge Grid after dominating last time out.
The Slovenian beat real-world racers such as Sophia Floersch and Alex Lynn to extend his lead at the top of the championship and take another step towards the title and the coveted prize of a drive in a real Formula E car when racing resumes.
But opening race winner Joshua Rogers is back on the grid after being forced to miss the last two rounds so expect plenty of sparks when Formula E returns.
Watch Round Four of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge, Saturday 16th May at 15:30 BST live on Eurosport 2.