The MS Amlin Andretti team got off to a successful start in the 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship season at the Hong Kong ePrix on the narrow streets of the Chinese harbour city. BMW works driver António Félix da Costa (PT) finished in fifth place in the ATEC-002 number 28 car. His team-mate Robin Frijns (NL) staged a sensational catch-up race from the back of the field, and brought the number 27 car home in sixth place after 45 laps. The Hong Kong ePrix was the first race after the partnership between BMW and Andretti Formula E was announced.
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Félix da Costa contested qualifying in the second group and secured a starting position in the middle of the field. His fastest lap was 1:04.057 minutes. This saw him start from 13th on the grid. Meanwhile his team-mate Frijns crashed into the barriers in the third qualifying group he was in. His ATEC-002 number 27 car was badly damaged, but the MS Amlin Andretti crew managed to get the car ready in time to race. Frijns started the first race of the year from the back of the grid.
Both MS Amlin Andretti drivers finished high up the field in the Hong Kong ePrix – and both were impressive with clever energy management. Félix da Costa got off to a good start and made up several places. When the BMW i8 Safety Car came out after Nelson Piquet junior’s (BR) accident on lap 18, the driver from Portugal was already in seventh place. Félix da Costa returned to this position after his pit stop seven laps later. By the end of the race the MS Amlin Andretti driver had overtaken another two drivers and finished fifth.
Frijns also had a strong race after his bad luck in qualifying: He was the last driver in the field to head into the pits on lap 26 – as the leader. The Dutchman returned to the narrow street circuit in tenth place, went on to work his way up the field and finished in sixth. The win at the season opener went to the reigning champion Sébastien Buemi (CH).
António Félix da Costa, MS Amlin Andretti: “To be honest, I didn’t have a good lap in qualifying, but then the race went better. You never know where you stand at the start of the season, but we can be totally happy with fifth and sixth. The race was exciting, and I pulled off a few good overtaking manoeuvres. We can build on this result.”
Robin Frijns, MS Amlin Andretti: “Wow, I didn’t expect this result. I had a serious accident in qualifying, and our team built a completely new car in two hours. I am very proud of the crew. To leave Hong Kong in sixth place is fantastic.”
The second race of the FIA Formula E Championship is scheduled for 12th November 2016; the Marrakech ePrix in the Moroccan metropolis.