Dan Ticktum rewards qualifying speed of Nio 333 with 1st WRC point, but drivetrain not efficient enough
Dan Ticktum finished Saturday's Formula E race in Diriyya in tenth place, earning his Nio 333 team its first world championship point since April 2022. The Briton had already attracted attention the day before with a captivating pace on one lap and had secured 4th place on the grid. In terms of energy management and race pace, however, Nio 333 is not yet able to keep pace with the front runners. Sergio Sette Camara remained with the 15th and 17th places behind his teammate..
Already at the season opener in Mexico had indicated the qualifying pace of the Gen3 car of Nio 333. Ticktum surprisingly reached the duel stage there. In Diriyya he put further exclamation marks: The Briton first took a surprise win in Friday's 2nd Free Practice - the first session win for Nio 333 since the 2017 Mexico City E-Prix - and shortly after set the third-fastest time in his qualifying group to advance to the knockout stage.
There he went on to defeat Oliver Rowland in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he had to admit defeat to Jake Hughes, which meant starting position 4 for the Brit. "The performance on one lap was really good this weekend," Ticktum told TV World Signal on Saturday. "The team did a great job and got everything we have out of the car at the moment. Yesterday in particular, I put that on the road in qualifying - I was very proud of that."
During the race, however, it became increasingly clear that the Nio 333 powertrain was not efficient or therefore fast enough to fight off the Porsche or Jaguar cars. "We went into a downward spiral, so we were using too much energy on one side and being overtaken at the same time," Ticktum explained.
"Thought we had already maxed out yesterday"
It seemed as if the Briton would pick up exactly where he left off the previous day on the second day of racing at Diriyya, as only Mitch Evans was faster in 3rd Free Practice. In qualifying this time, however, it was enough for 11th place. Ticktum gave two reasons for this during the course of the day: Firstly, a cat ran onto the track in front of his car on his fast lap on the long back straight. By his own admission, Ticktum would have improved enough to make the quarterfinals.
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The competition, by the way, met this statement with some mockery and made fun of his compatriot in the person of Jake Dennis with an ironic post on Instagram: "I was on my way to pole position until a giraffe ran in front of my car." With a creative photo montage and a citation of Ticktum's post in his Story, he may have made some Formula E fans laugh.
On the other hand, Ticktum confirmed after the race that the team had worked overnight primarily on the set-up for the race. As a result, he said, they had lost some ground in qualifying trim compared to the competition. "In the race, however, it helped us significantly," Ticktum said. "I was able to drive through the corners more precisely than the others and take more momentum with me."
Somit konnte er seine Position nicht nur halten, sondern einen Platz gutmachen. Als Zehnter sammelte er den ersten Punkt für Nio 333 seit dem Rom E-Prix 2022. Auf Instagram resümiert der 23-Jährige: "Mit dem Auto, was wir momentan haben, können das Team und ich sehr stolz auf diese Leistung und die ersten Punkte sein. Ich dachte, wir hätten gestern im Rennen schon das Maximum erreicht, aber irgendwie haben sie die Balance so verbessert, dass ich trotz der Verluste im Antriebsstrang effizient genug bleiben konnte."
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Sergio Sette Camara, der mit guten Trainingsleistungen in Mexiko hatte aufhorchen lassen, erlebte in Diriyya ein schwieriges Wochenende. Er schaffte es nur in einer Session - dem 2. Freien Training - in die Top 10. Von den Startpositionen 13 und 14 reichte es in den Rennen nur zu den Plätzen 15 und 17. Nach drei Saisonläufen muss sich der wohl leicht favorisierte Brasilianer bei Nio 333 zunächst hinter seinem schnellen Teamkollegen Ticktum anstellen. In knapp zwei Wochen in Hyderabad hat er die Möglichkeit, das Blatt zu wenden.