Paffett’s season electrified by first points in Formula E championship
Clare’s Gary Paffett has collected his first ABB FIA Formula E Championship points, with an eighth place finish at Sunday’s Hong Kong E-Prix, a milestone event in the championship’s history.
The 37-year-old Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) reigning champion has had to get used to swapping top place for bottom place in his inaugural season in the electric racing car series, but glimmers of the speedster’s abilities were finally on show in China.
The HWA RACELAB team had by far their best weekend to date at the 50th-ever race of Formula E, with both Paffett and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne finishing every session in the top 10.
Paffett said: “We made it to the finish, I scored my first points in Formula E, and the team also picked up its first points.
“That is definitely a step forward, even if we were hoping for more after qualifying.
“As such, I am generally very happy with this weekend.”
But, after experiencing his first Super Pole session – to determine the top five positions on the grid – and beginning from fourth on the grid, there was some disappointment at the eventual eighth-place finish.
“P8 is a bit disappointing after starting from fourth,” he said. “Our cars were not as strong on a dry track. We were not able to gain any experience in the dry here, which made it a tough race.”
Ulrich Fritz, team principal, said: “We have mixed feelings after this race day.
“Our performance in qualifying was absolutely magnificent and we picked up the first points and pole position in Formula E for Stoffel Vandoorne.
“In the race, Stoffel was in contention for a spot on the podium until he unfortunately had to retire with a drive shaft issue.
“Gary at least managed to finish eighth and score his first points in the series. We must work on our race pace and the reliability of the car for the coming races.
“However, it feels good to know that we are improving from race to race.”
The race was controversial, with winner Sam Bird handed a five-second time penalty to be denied the victory and relegated to sixth.
Envision Virgin Racing’s Bird took the chequered flag following a last-lap move – since deemed illegal – on race leader Andre Lotterer.