Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) kick-started the second half of his 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with the Swiss taking third in the CBMM Niobium Puebla E-Prix Round 8 - following the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler pair of Lucas di Grassi and Rene Rast home.
On Formula E's first visit to the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed - the 2.93-kilometre, 15 turn circuit on the outskirts of Puebla - Mortara swept away any apprehension brought about by a first trip to an unknown race track by making Super Pole in qualifying. Sixth was his starting berth in the end, and it was a case of steady progress for Mortara.
With 30 minutes plus one lap remaining, Mortara rolled the dice by activating ATTACK MODE early; briefly dropping down to eighth before fighting forward to fourth with his eyes on the podium.
CATCH UP: The full report from the Puebla E-Prix Round 8
As the race progressed, the Swiss-Italian racer was flirting with a place inside the top three and a second appearance for the MINI Electric Pacesetter Safety Car, with 17 minutes plus one lap left, played into the Venturi racer’s hands. Locked in a strategic fight with both BMW i Andretti Motorsport drivers, he moved up to third, clearing Jake Dennis before diving past Maximilian Guenther in Turn 1 for second.
After using energy aggressively over the first part of the race to make up ground, Mortara switched focus to careful management of his reserves in the closing stages, coming under pressure from Audi teammates Lucas di Grassi and Rene Rast.
With one minute remaining, the Audis' strength told and both made their way by. Fourth at the chequered flag, but third once the Porsches were disqualified for failing to declare their tyres pre-race.
Mortara: 'Hard work pays off'
“It feels fantastic to be back on the podium again!" says Mortara. "During the six-week break before Puebla, we worked very hard to analyse our data from the first half of the season and clearly, the hard work has paid off. I think we drove a very intelligent race today and the timing of our use of ATTACK MODE worked out perfectly.
"As an independent team competing against some of the biggest manufacturers in the world, results like this mean a lot and it just goes to show that when everything falls into place, we can be up here. I would like to thank the team for their hard work and hopefully, we can carry this momentum forward into Round 9.”
“It was a solid race from Edo today and the result reflects not only his drive but also the fantastic team effort throughout," adds Team Principal Susie Wolff. "It's great to back on the podium and fighting at the front of the pack but it's time to get our heads down and focus on the second race, putting into play everything we learned from today.”