Starting from eleventh on the grid, the Porsche works driver had a consistently good pace on the digital track in Hong Kong (HK) in the virtual Porsche 99X Electric with car number 18. However, several collisions with other cars in the first turn, which were no fault of his own, prevented a better result. A technical defect forced Jani’s (CH) team-mate André Lotterer (DE) in the Porsche 99X Electric with car number 36 to retire from the race after the third race lap. He started the race from ninth on the grid.
In the separate sim racer starting field, Joshua Rogers (AU) in another digital Porsche 99X Electric celebrated his first race win. The current champion of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup finished in fifth place in qualifying. Rogers moved up into second place at the start, before the 20-year-old Australian took the top spot one lap before the end of the race that was not to be missed. He kept hold of the lead and bagged himself 25 points in the driver’s standings. In the second virtual Porsche 99X Electric, Mike Channell (GB) retired from the race.
The ABB FIA Formula E launched the “Race at Home Challenge” as a replacement for the standard ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/2020 season races that have been postponed due to the crisis. All the Formula E teams and a selection of the top Esports drivers are taking part in two separate starting fields. The drivers take part in the virtual races in their race simulators at home.
The events will follow the traditional Formula E scoring system, with bonus points for pole position and the fastest race lap. Double points will be awarded in the final race. The next race will take place on 2 May. All further races until the Grand Finale on 13 June will be on a weekly basis. Each race gets underway at 16:30 CEST. The “Race at Home Challenge” is part of the partnership between the FIA Formula E Championship 2019/2020 and the child welfare organisation UNICEF, which will be receiving the donations raised during the race events.
Quotes from the race in Hong Kong:
Marco Ujhasi (Manager Esports at Porsche Motorsport): “Formula E is finally back – with superb racing both in the Challenger grid with the sim racing specialists and in the field of Formula E drivers. It is great for the fans and for charity, raising donations for the child welfare organisation UNICEF. The sporting ambition among the drivers is as great as it is in real races. Everyone has done a lot of practice. We’re also really pleased that the sim racers are being given a great platform. Congratulations to Joshua Rogers on his victory in the first outing in the virtual Porsche 99X Electric.”
Neel Jani (Porsche 99X Electric, #18): “In qualifying I was on for a good lap, before António Félix da Costa span in front of me, forcing me to swerve. It was a shame because it cost me a lot of time. Unfortunately, I got hit a few times in the first turn in the race. This not only damaged my car, but also forced me down the field a few places. I was able to move up a few places again after that, but my damaged steering in particular caused me problems. So, I can almost be pleased with twelfth place. But it is still a shame, because I think with my pace I could have finished in a much better position.”
André Lotterer (Porsche 99X Electric, #36): “Qualifying didn’t go as well as in the test race in Monaco last Saturday. I started the race from ninth on the grid and was able to keep well out of the skirmish at the start. Unfortunately, technical problems with the simulator forced me to retire. It’s a shame, also because I had spent a lot of time practising the past few days.”
Joshua Rogers (Porsche 99X Electric, #36): “Naturally, I am over the moon with the win. The race couldn’t have gone any better. Qualifying wasn’t easy, and didn’t pass totally without errors. But fifth place was good for us. It meant we were able to stay out of the melee in the first turn. Many thanks to everyone from the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team for the opportunity to represent the Porsche colours in this race. I’m really looking forward to the next race.”