The fifth round of the Formula E Race at Home Challenge at Berlin saw a lot of crashes, surprise wins and a cloud of controversy looming over German racing driver Daniel Abt
Oliver Rowland took his first victory in the fifth round of the Formula E Race at Home Challenge and became the first non-German winner of the competition, in his rivals’ own backyard. Kevin Siggy dominated the challenge grid with a spotless race. Daniel Abt was disqualified from the race and fined €10,000 for letting a professional esports racer pilot his car for the race.
Challenge Grid leader Kevin Siggy secured Pole with a blazing 1:09.072 lap, second and third on the grid were within 0.200 seconds of the pole position time, with Peyo Peev lining up alongside his sim racing rival and Petar Brljak just behind the front row in third. Round 4 winner Lucas Mueller rounded out the top five.
The sim racers got off to clean start from the lights, with Poleman Siggy holding his lead into Turn 1, despite the best efforts from Peev and Brljak attempting to barge pass the leader, however Brljak was able to capitalise on the move and take second from Peev.
Brljak continued to put in his all to close the gap to Siggy, getting within seven-tenths of the race leader in the closing stages of the race, but it wasn't enough as the Slovenian kept his cool to win his second race of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge. In dominating form, Siggy took a lights-to-flag victory to extend his lead in the standings. Despite closing the gap towards the end, Brljak was unable to get close enough to make a move and ended up in second. Mueller rounded out the podium in third.
Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne started on Julius Baer Pole Position for the third time in the competition, but lost the lead to Rowland, with the Nissan e.dams driver holding off a late challenge from second-placed Vandoorne. Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) finished in fourth, while winner of the first two races Maximilian Guenther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) crashed out to finish eighth, a hammer blow in the 22-year-old’s title challenge. There was chaos at the first corner as several drivers crashed out, with a leading trio running away from the pack to contest for the lead.
The provisional results see Wehrlein remain top of the driver standings on 82 points, however the German’s lead has been cut to just four points, with Vandoorne taking second place on 78 points with Guenther in third on 71 points.
Daniel Abt’s actions were regarded as “sporting misconduct” in a statement released by Formula E. His car was raced by Lorenz Hoerzing, who races for Audi in the virtual Challenge series, and he has now been banned from entering any future rounds of the Challenge series.
The race was a very fun one indeed, with all the drama and action we've come to expect from Formula E, both virtually and in reality. Let's hope Daniel can brush off this incident and improve his skills behind the virtual wheel to redeem himself.