Frustration for Turvey, Farewell to Aguri in Formula E finale

The 2015-16 FIA Formula E Championship wrapped up its second season at the Battersea Park Circuit in London, England, with Sebastien Buemi being crowned champion by just two points over Lucas di Grassi.

Drago Modulo Honda driver Oliver Turvey, former GT500 champion Loïc Duval, and Team Aguri, co-founded by ARTA team boss Aguri Suzuki, featured all season long, and played their own roles in the double-header finale. Even former two-time GT500 champion Andre Lotterer was in attendance at Battersea Park.

Turvey celebrated the one-year anniversary of his Formula E debut in London a year ago by qualifying inside the top ten in both races. He started third in race one on Saturday, and fourth for Sunday’s second race.

Unfortunately, the promising speed never delivered the results. To cap off what had been a frustrating year for Turvey and his NEXTEV TCR team, he crashed late in race one from third place, then a late puncture in the second race relegated him to finishing tenth following a series of post-race penalties.

Still, Turvey can take great pride in a season where, despite the NEXTEV TCR powertrain’s massive struggles that kept him from ever having a shot at a victory, he outscored his teammate, the inaugural Formula E champion Nelsiñho Piquet. Turvey’s more positive attitude at times contrasted with the visible frustration from Piquet – and it showed in the results, as quite often Turvey was quicker than his champion teammate. His return for 2016-17 is yet to be confirmed.

 

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Duval enjoyed mixed fortunes of his own in London, completing his second season with Dragon Racing with a fourth place finish in the second race. His first race was unlucky, as Duval retired with a loss of power after 23 laps, dropping him out of a points-paying finish.

A former driver for Nakajima Racing, Dome/Honda, and TOM’s, and champion in GT500 in 2010, Duval’s star is rising in Formula E as it has in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the last several years. He and Dragon Racing had the pace to win on many occasions, but for Duval, not even a podium was in the cards this year. But for a driver this talented, the wins will come in droves once Duval finally stands on the top step of the podium.

The Frenchman finished eighth in the final standings, and is confirmed for next season with the newly-christened Faraday Future Dragon Racing.

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It was a bittersweet Formula E farewell for Team Aguri, who announced that they were selling their entry to a new outfit known as Techeetah for the third season. Techeetah’s main investors are China Media Capital, who also came into the sporting news recently as they’ve attempted to purchase the Ultimate Fighting Championship from Zuffa. Co-founder Aguri Suzuki left the team earlier this year as CMC bought their way into the team.

Team Aguri will be remembered as one of the most engaging and fan-friendly teams in Formula E, led by the frank, open talk and positive demeanor of team principal Mark Preston, an advocate for electric technology as the future of motorsport. Their success was only brief, but they had a victory to their name via Antonio Felix da Costa in the 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix.

Da Costa, and teammate Qinghua Ma, could not replicate that great victory in their farewell race for the team. Da Costa finished sixth in race one, and was set for ninth in race two before being penalized for excessive energy use. It was the final agonizing thorn in a season littered with rotten luck for the Portuguese driver. Ma was never a factor in either race, finishing 13th and 12th in the two races.

 

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