Formula E’s new Gen2 era has forced teams to race on “a whole new level” in the championship, according to Techeetah boss Mark Preston. 

The DS-backed Venturi-powered Chinese squad - which took Jean-Eric Vergne to his first FE drivers’ title last season - claimed a podium finish in the inaugural Ad Diriyah E-Prix at the 2018/19 season-opener.

Following a two-car appearance in the top five of a race which marked the debut of the all-electric series’ new Gen2 machinery, Techeetah sits second in the teams’ standings and just a single point behind the BMW-run Andretti outfit.

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“It was a huge achievement for the whole team and what a way to start the season,” Preston said. 

“The championship has definitely taken another step forward and we’re racing on a whole new level now. 

"Jean-Éric and André were flying out there and it was really exciting to see that all the hard work that the team has put into the package delivered on track.” 

Despite being hampered by an incorrectly calibrated battery management issue that left both Techeetah cars without full charge and in breach of FE’s new powertrain regulations, Vergne scythed his way back from a subsequent drive-through penalty to narrowly miss out on victory to BMW’s Antonio Felix da Costa. 

The Frenchman’s charge through the field - albeit being aided by a late Safety Car period - caught the attention of Techeetah’s rivals.

“That was just a taster of what is to come from Techeetah,” Vergne explained. 

"The course was so much fun to drive, it was like walking on a cloud out there. 

“I’m very proud to be part of a championship that keeps innovating and re-inventing itself like this. 

“We put on a great show and as we aim for more podiums and our first win of the season, I’m confident that we will continue to deliver some very exciting racing for the rest of the championship. 

“We’re going to absorb all the lessons, continue in this spirit and come back for more.”
 
Lotterer was also hit with a drive-through penalty for the same infringement but was still able to recover strongly, finishing just over 1.5s off the podium at the inaugural FE event to be held in Saudi Arabia. 

“We had some issues, but we should be happy about the pace we had,” added Lotterer. 

“We were really putting the car through its paces and it responded so well. 

“It’s of course frustrating to have the issues that we had as I lost out on a potential win, or at least a one-two or a double-podium as we had the pace for it. 

“But we gained some valuable points and that’s what matters the most in this championship. We’re looking to the next race and it will be good to flex our muscles in Marrakesh.”

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