Friday, December 18, 2015

2015 Punta del Este ePrix Preview

The final major motorsports event of the 2015 will occur this Saturday with Formula E running the third round of their 2015-16 championships from Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Lucas di Grassi's victory at Putrajaya last month gave the Brazilian Abt Audi Sport driver the championship lead. Di Grassi has 43 points from the first two races. He finished second at Beijing. Eight points behind di Grassi is Beijing winner and winner of last year's Punta del Este ePrix Sébastien Buemi. After scoring maximum points in China, Buemi scored pole position and fastest lap in Putrajaya but had heating problems cost him a shot at victory. The Swiss e.dams driver trails by eight points. Eleven points behind Buemi is DS Virgin Racing's Sam Bird. The British driver finished seven and second in the first two rounds.

Nick Heidfeld is fourth in the championship but will miss Punta del Este after undergoing hand surgery. The German suffered ligament damage in Putrajaya. The Venturi Grand Prix driver has 17 points and finished third in Beijing. Formula Renault 3.5 champion Oliver Rowland will replace Heidfeld. Rowland won eight races and scored 13 podiums from 17 races to take the title. Andretti driver Robin Frijns crabbed his way to third in Putrajaya and is a point behind Heidfeld. The Dutch driver is in a Venturi sandwich as Stéphane Sarrazin is two points back of Frijns. Dragon Racing's Loïc Duval is seventh in the championship with a dozen points.

Mahindra's Bruno Senna and Dragon's Jérôme d'Ambrosio are tied on ten points with the tiebreaker going to the Brazilian. Both have a fifth place finish with Senna having a 13th in China to the Belgian's 14th in Malaysia. NEXTEV's Oliver Turvey and Aguri's António Félix da Costa are tied for tenth on eight points. Daniel Abt has six points. Nathanaël Berthon and defending Formula E champion Nelson Piquet, Jr. are tied on four points. Nicolas Prost has one point from the first two races. Jacques Villeneuve, Jean-Éric Vergne and Simona de Silvestro have all yet to score a point this season.

News came out earlier this week that Trulli GP has withdrawn from the championship. The team failed to pass scrutineering at the first two rounds of the season.

Last year at Punta del Esta, Sébastien Buemi went on to win after pole-sitter Jean-Éric Vergne had a suspension failure end his race while challenging the Swiss driver. Last year's race saw four safety car periods. Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Lucas di Grassi rounded out the podium. Daniel Abt scored fastest lap.

1. Over or Under: 49.1 minutes to complete the 33-lap Punta del Este ePrix?

Last Week's Over/Unders
1. Under: There were two Ferraris in the top five after the first six hours of the Gulf 12 Hours.
2. Under: No cars completed 300 laps in the Sepang 12 Hours after a red flag for torrential rain interrupted the race. The winning #17 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi completed only 228 laps.

1. Sébastien Buemi does not score fastest lap.

Last Week's Predictions
1. AF Corse gets one car on the Gulf 12 Hours podium but does not win the race (Wrong. AF Corse failed to put a car on the podium).
2. Two Audis finish on the overall podium at Sepang (Correct. Audi swept the podium).
Overall: 1/2 Running Tally: 37.5/70