Gary Paffett endured a challenging weekend in China in the sixth round of this season's ABB FIA Formula E Championship as the HWA RACELAB driver’s race was brought to an early finish after 13 laps due to a driveshaft issue in the Sanya E-Prix.
Travelling to the Sanya E-Prix with the hope of building on his first points scoring weekend of the championship in the previous round, Paffett and the HWA team were unable to repeat this feat at the inaugural Sanya E-Prix.
The weekend started off with two practice sessions, where Gary got up to speed around the Sanya circuit and finished the two sessions in 14th and 21st respectively, with the car struggling to reach the same performance levels that it had in the previous round in Hong Kong.
Entering qualifying, it was apparent that both the HWA drivers were still struggling to find the pace that had rewarded them both with Super Pole appearances in the previous round. Unable to match the pace of the front-runners on the 2.3-km circuit, Paffett qualified in 21st place but an issue with the car went that Gary was forced to start from the pit lane after a routine check on the car.
Starting the race from a lower position than he and his team would have hoped for after recent races. Gary’s race ended after 13 laps, suffering from a drive shaft issue which had also thwarted team-mate Vandoorne in Hong Kong, bringing an end to a disappointing weekend for Paffett and the HWA RACELAB team.
Reflecting on a tough weekend, Gary added.
"A really disappointing race. I started from the pit lane because we had a problem with the car. We just tried to stay clear of all the incidents and stay in the race right through to the finish. However, I lost drive after just a few laps. I think it was the drive shaft. Anyway, I was unable to continue. All in all, it has been a really disappointing day. We have to solve the issues with the car before the next race in Rome."
Echoing Gary’s disappointment, HWA Team Principal, Ulrich Fritz, added.
"We suffered a setback today. After our first pole position and points in Hong Kong, we wanted to continue our positive trend in Sanya. But that was not to be. Stoffel was involved in a racing incident, in which his car was damaged. Gary had issues with the driveshaft again. That is something that we must take a closer look at with our manufacturer, as we had the same problem in the last race. It is bitterly disappointing, but that is racing. We are now looking forward to our first race in Europe, where we will be out to bounce back."
Now heading into the European rounds of this year's all-electric championship, Gary’s next race will be the Rome E-Prix on the 13th April.