"Really optimistic" - tragic hero Fenestraz explains Cassidy collision that cost him 1st Formula E podium
Sacha Fenestraz was one of the tragic heroes of the Cape Town E-Prix. At the Formula E premiere in South Africa, the Nissan driver celebrated his first pole position and fought for a place on the podium until the very end. However, this was abruptly ended by an accident with Nick Cassidy on the last lap. The blame Fenestraz sees clearly with the "Kiwi"..
Fenestraz had shown in Cape Town from the start that he would be a force to be reckoned with. He made the best impression of the four Nissan drivers in both practice and qualifying, and rewarded himself in the qualifying final with his first pole position in Formula E, three world championship points and with the average fastest lap ever driven in the electric series (154.987 km/h)..
From first place on the grid, he got off to a good start in the race, but fell behind - or, to be precise, into traffic - due to an unlawful maneuver by Max Günther. So although victory was no longer an issue for Fenestraz in the closing stages, the 23-year-old youngest driver in the field kept his rival Nick Cassidy behind him in third place until the final lap. He was allowed to hope for his first podium, but then it crashed.
"Cassidy tried to overtake me with a very late maneuver in turn 7. That was really optimistic," Fenestraz described the scene, which was crucial for him, on the microphone of 'e-Formel.de'. "I turned in, but he had part of his front wing next to my rear wheel. He touched me, whereupon I lost the rear and hit the wall. That was the end of my race."
Fenestraz: Overtaking maneuver in turn 7 "impossible".
Fenestraz sees the blame clearly on his opponent: "I don't think there has been an overtaking maneuver in turn 7 all weekend. It's very difficult there, maybe impossible. But he still tried on the very last lap. That's a real shame, because we were on our way to the podium." Incidentally, race officials did not issue a penalty against Cassidy, so they counted the contact as a racing accident with no sole culprit.
In the end, Fenestraz had to settle for a retirement in South Africa. Nevertheless, he has finally arrived in Formula E and could become one of the stars of tomorrow. He is also hopeful with a view to the first Sao Paulo E-Prix on March 25: "It's good for me when we race on new tracks, because then I start at the same level as everyone else. We're in a much better position there in terms of pace."
The hard work is starting to pay off ? We're so proud of the whole of team ?- Nissan NISMO (@NISMO) February 25, 2023
Congrats to @sachafenestraz for his Pole Position and setting the fastest ever @FIAFormulaE recorded lap ? and @NatoNorman on his points ?️?@Nissan #NissanFormulaE #FeelElectric #CapeTownEPrix pic.twitter.com/LgQg03Psmy
His conclusion in South Africa: "We were able to achieve some initial partial successes, such as in qualifying," Fenestraz says. "But we just need to finish the races, we still lack that. Today we had a good opportunity."