Friday, 24 March 2023 03:00 GMT


(MENAFN- Asdaf News)

DIRIYAH – Asdaf News:

At the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix, Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team drove his 99X Electric GEN3 car to a second victory in as many days, this time beating Jake Dennis of the Avalanche Andretti Formula E Team to the finish line. René Rast secured NEOM McLaren's first podium finish in Formula E.

Before Round 3 in Diriyah, where more than 35,000 spectators watched the race weekend events and witnessed the Middle-Eastern debut for the all-new GEN3 car – the world's fastest, lightest, most powerful, and efficient electric race car – Wehrlein made things easier on himself by qualifying in fifth rather than yesterday's ninth.

The German constantly seemed dangerous to those ahead from fifth position. Jake Hughes of NEOM McLaren had gained the lead from Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing at the opening corner of the first lap before Hughes and Rast were able to pass Evans during ATTACK MODE.

When Rast completed his first round of 50kW boosts, he temporarily took the lead until Wehrlein, who had been waiting behind the lead trio and controlling his energy, stepped up a gear. Before Wehrlein undercut Rast through ATTACK MODE and sped into a two-second lead, Hughes and Evans passes on him just a lap apart, each down at Turn 16, brought him into contention.

As Wehrlein climbed into the lead, Dennis and Bird were moving in their respective directions. On lap 21, the Avalanche Andretti driver passed Maserati MSG Racing's Edoardo Mortara for sixth, and Bird followed suit with one of his daring signature maneuvers at the last circuit.

A lap later, the pre-race leader in the standings Dennis passed Hughes for fourth, quickly dispatched Evans, and made it three on the spin by gaining second from Rast. The Jaguar of Bird then caught up to Dennis to take third.

By that time, Wehrlein had developed a lead and appeared unbeatable. The Porsche driver stretched his legs again to win by a margin of just over a second and become just the fifth driver to stand on top of the podium in both races of a Formula E double-header. A late-race Safety Car could have put a wrench in the works, but there were no such problems for the Porsche driver.

Bird had appeared to be in the driver's seat for third, but he lost it after choosing ATTACK MODE and failing in a last-ditch attempt to bump Rast out of position.

Hughes finished sixth despite not quite being able to capitalize on winning the pole, adding to his strong start to the season. Mitch Evans of Jaguar lost sixth to Sébastien Buemi of Envision Racing without the need for a second invitation after the Kiwi botched a move on Hughes over the line by getting stuck with the McLaren and allowed the Swiss to nip through.

Edoardo Mortara earned points with a ninth-place finish for Nissan Formula E Team, and Sacha Fenestraz turned in the finest performance of his rookie season so far. Maserati MSG Racing's tireless efforts on a challenging race weekend were rewarded with a podium finish. Given the team's performance, Dan Ticktum earned his NIO 333 in 10th place and his first points of the year.

The next race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is the 2023 Greenko Hyderabad E-Prix on Saturday 11 February.

“I would say yesterday was a bit more exciting as I had more cars to pass. Today was not easy and I would say it was even a bit more difficult. Obviously, the others learned from yesterday, Sam Bird had quite a lot of energy in the end but still had to take his ATTACK mode – so that probably saved us a lit bit. But you could clearly see they made steps forward today and that made it a bit more difficult.”

“I think they [McLaren] deserve the podium, I think they had the quickest car today over one lap – it is great to see them up on the podium. The Jaguar is really fast as well – Sam [Bird] was 2% up on us – it seems like they turned their efficiency around, so don't expect this to happen each race. We need to collect the points while we can and try build the biggest lead we can because they are definitely going to start to close the gap.”

“Before the safety car I was not about to fight him [Sam Bird] because he had much more energy, and then all of a sudden the safety car changed everything and I thought we had a chance for the podium, and I started fighting him – and it worked out in the end.”


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