Andre Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) put a rough start to his 2020/21 Formula E campaign firmly behind him after measuring a drive to the podium in the DHL Valencia E-Prix Round 6 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Lotterer didn't manage to open his Valencia weekend in the way he would have hoped, despite qualifying a promising-looking fifth on the grid for Round 5. The German, clearly eager to make progress in the race, was a little keen in a move on Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) and was later penalised for a manoeuvre as he attempted to pass ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edo Mortara.
Ultimately, the first race in Valencia ended with a dissappointing non-finish. For Round 6, he'd line-up fifth after that grid penalty and the only driver yet to score a point in Season 7.
Lotterer dug deep, though, and produced a collected drive in concert with his engineers' instructions to play the long game, with energy management ever more in focus in Valencia. The Porsche driver produced the goods, with pace to go with his care and attention over usable energy.
Third on-track was the result - though he knew Norman Nato (ROKiT Venturi Racing) up ahead would receive a five-second penalty for a nudge on Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn earlier in the encounter. A well-earned net second spot, and something to build on for the 36-year-old next time out in Monaco (May 8).
"That was what everyone was expecting – the slipstream effect, the ATTACK MODES and the tyres dropping off," said Lotterer. "So, I kept it calm all the way through the race and I think that was the best result we could have done.
"We executed everything perfectly and we knew we’d have to be patient due to managing energy and all the other factors. My engineer and team predicted the right strategy from the beginning and that made my life easier. It was nice to have a bit of luck as well to see me take second after that penalty."
Porsche's efficiency more than evident
Round 6 also showed Porsche has energy management down, feels Lotterer. It was far from the only thing drivers and engineers had to manage at Formula E's first outing at a permanent race circuit, with tyre care, slipstreaming and timing ATTACK MODE effectively also key. So, the fact the team nailed the lot will surely prove a source of encouragement heading into the second quarter of the season.
"We’ve never really been able to show our energy management strengths fully – at least in my case this season with the messy races I’ve had. So, it’s good to see on a really sensitive track that we have the confidence to do it well.
"I was able to make some nice passes on Rene (Rast) and on Jean-Eric (Vergne) but it was easier to pass here than elsewhere with the wide track and there’s less risk. When you have ATTACK MODE, too, it definitely helps but only if you strategically use it to try and take them on at the right time and make the most of it."
That result shoved Lotterer up to mid-pack and 16th in the Drivers' table while Porsche sit sixth in the Teams' running.