- World champion, Jake Dennis, bounces back in commanding style winning Round 2 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Saudi Arabia
- Jean-Éric Vergne claims second while Nick Cassidy earns third after mistake from teammate
- Oscar-winning actor, Adrien Brody, watches the race after driving the Formula E GEN3 race car on the track
DIRIYAH, Saudi Arabia. Fri. 26 Jan. 2024 – Formula E world champion Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E Team) won the opening race of the Diriyah E-Prix double-header, overcoming the disappointment of ninth place in Mexico with a commanding victory by the second-largest winning margin in Formula E history.
Dennis started in third on the grid but expertly dealt with the slippery track conditions and two of his most experienced rivals starting ahead of him in a defiant display of his world champion credentials. Dennis finished 13.289 seconds ahead of Formula E’s only double champion, Jean-Éric Vergne (DS PENSKE), a rare accomplishment in Formula E where most podium places are often within a single second.
Starting from Julius Bär Pole Position, Vergne maintained an early lead but a slip gave Dennis the edge and Vergne was unable to pressure Dennis who pulled away, with Vergne ultimately earning second place.
Three turns from the chequered flag on the final lap, a bid for second place by Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) saw the Kiwi overstep on a risky manoeuvre. That let two cars past and left a disconsolate Evans in fifth place after holding a strong position in the top three for the majority of the race.
It was a more positive day for Jaguar TCS Racing’s off-season signing, Nick Cassidy, who executed an innovative race strategy with late ATTACK MODE activations that propelled him from seventh on the grid to finish on the podium in third, gaining from his teammate’s mistake.
Sam Bird (NEOM McLaren Formula E Team) once again showed his affinity for the Diriyah Street Circuit, climbing five places from ninth to fourth and earning the ABB Driver of Progress award for the most-places gained in the race.
Norman Nato and Maximilian Günther also put in solid performances, finishing sixth and seventh respectively, while Pascal Wehrlein, the winner in the first race of the season in Mexico City, retained his lead in the drivers’ world championship by a thin margin after finishing eighth.
Earlier on, Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody experienced driving the Formula E GEN3 race car for two high-speed laps of the track. He also tried out the Porsche Taycan safety car. He was joined by his partner, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, to watch the race.
JAKE DENNIS, No. 1, Andretti Formula E Team, said:
“I can only honestly thank these guys out here so much, you know, we’ve had a difficult start to the season, but we turned it around and came back. I got my biggest win in Formula E tonight. The last eight, nine laps I could really give everything and create that 13 second lead. These days don’t come around very often. I got to show these guys tonight and we’ll try and do it again tomorrow.
“There was a little bit of debate between me and the team about when we should take it [ATTACK MODE] but ultimately, we got it right. That was the main thing, it’s obviously so difficult to overtake here. We saw Mitch Evans trying to pull a do or die move, and thankfully that didn’t work out and allowed me to get away.
“I have to say the enjoyment of racing here in Saudi under the lights and just enjoying every lap. It was so much fun. The track really started to grip up at the end and we could actually push the cars. It was a pretty phenomenal performance.”
JEAN-ÉRIC VERGNE, No. 25, DS PENSKE, said:
“Usually starting on pole you want to win the race, any other place is a disappointment but I’m very happy today. The pace we set – it’s been flying doing the race, it’s the best I could have done today, we made a huge step forward compared to last year, I’m very happy that the work is paying off. We’re catching up, we’re not there, but we’re gonna be there. And in some races, I hope we’ll have everything to beat them. Right now, I’m very happy to get some points and improve things. We’ll fight for more wins later on.”
NICK CASSIDY, No. 37, Jaguar TCS Racing, said:
“Hello to everyone in Saudi Arabia – this is really cool, it’s amazing to see an event like this in Formula E. I was really lucky, I had a really fast car today and my team were amazing. I made a bit of a wrong choice at qualifying, but the team’s support in the race and in qualifying was really mega. So, this one’s for them.
“Although we were having radio issues during the race, their comms to me was super clear, they did a great job.”
The second race in the Diriyah E-Prix double-header is tomorrow, (Saturday, 27 January), Round 3 in Season 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Por: ABB FIA Formula E World Championship