Ds Virgin Racing has been running with inherent reliability problems since Hong Kong, which finally caught up with the British team when Sam Bird had a gearbox issue on lap 16 of the Marrakesh E-Prix.
Bird was running in second place and challenging Sebastien Buemi for the lead of the race when a gearbox issue caused the British driver to slow down dramatically, promoting eventual winner Felix Rosenqvist to second.
“We’ve had an issue since Hong Kong which you wouldn’t have noticed from the outside,” explained Bird. “We had tried to address it but it came back, and it came back big time in the race. We actually noticed it a lot in practice, during a 200kW lap attempt.
“I noticed some difficulties with the rear of the car and I came in early from my run. We thought ‘do we change it, do we not?’, and anyway we said no, let’s not change the component and unfortunately it’s come to bite us a little bit in the race.
“But still, third place is strong points, and it’s a third place with a big issue! I didn’t think I was going to finish the race in the first car, I thought I was going to be pulling over and retiring so actually we were quite relieved when the Full Course Yellow came and saved my bacon a little bit.” he added.
Tough race for Lynn
Bird’s teammate Alex Lynn and Audi driver Daniel Abt were fighting for 6th place when they collided on lap two, which sent Lynn spinning into the runoff area at turn one and dropped him down to 19th place. The Stewards deemed Abt responsible for the incident and awarded him a drive through penalty, whilst Lynn eventually recovered back to 9th place and brought home two extra points for the team.
“This weekend promised a lot, but sadly we didn’t come away with all the points we deserved,” said Lynn. We qualified well and were in the fight during the race, but unfortunately, it was ruined by another driver which put paid to what we should have scored.”
Ds Virgin Racing sits in second in the team’s championship with 57 points. 18 points behind leaders Mahindra. Bird also sits second in the driver’s championship with 50 points, whilst Lynn has accumulated eight points from the first three races of the season and sits 13th.