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PHOTO: Formula E Media

Win for Evans, title to Jake Dennis, in a red flag-filled race


Jake Dennis navigated a crazy Hankook London E-Prix Round 15 to come home second; enough to make sure of sealing the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Drivers' Championship, as Mitch Evans took the chequered flag first for Jaguar TCS Racing.

Off the line Buemi jumped Dennis to make it an Envision Racing one-two at the end of Lap 1, with polesitter Cassidy leading his teammate and the standings leader out into the East London sunshine. 

On Lap 2, Evans held sixth with a sharp bit of defensive work through Turn 2 as Wehrlein looked to take back his position. The Kiwi then made it past Ticktum for fifth – strong and vital progress for the Jaguar driver.

Heading into Lap 4 and Cassidy headed Buemi, Dennis, Rast, Evans, Wehrlein, Ticktum, Bird, Nato and Vandoorne, rounding out the top 10 - all split by just four seconds.

With his teammate in second spot, Cassidy knew he could make the move his first of two mandatory 50kW ATTACK MODE boosts with no worry of his closest rival Dennis profiting. Buemi carried out his rear-gunner duties perfectly as the Kiwi jumped for a two-minute dose of ATTACK MODE - the first of the leaders to do so. On Lap 7, he took the remaining six-minute 50kW jolt, which did drop him behind both his teammate and Evans to third while the latter made it by Dennis, who missed the activation zone for his first ATTACK MODE boost.

Buemi then leapt for ATTACK MODE on Lap 9, briefly ceding the lead to Evans before an almighty scrap between Cassidy in third, Dennis in fourth and Rene Rast (NEOM McLaren) in fifth. Into the penultimate corner, the Brit made a super-brave move to catch Cassidy unawares and slip up the inside of the Envision into the final corner. Rast was able to pick both off as they scrabbled, though - the McLaren driver taking third, then second from Buemi later around that same lap.

It wasn't over, though. On Lap 12, Cassidy fought back as Buemi backed the Andretti driver up into his teammate's grasp. The elbows were firmly out from both but it was Cassidy who stuck to the inside line in Turn 3 to make a three-corner move stick.

An already-dramatic race then kicked up a notch further as Dennis' closest rival Cassidy fell from contention - his front wing coming unstuck after earlier contact with teammate Buemi, trapping itself beneath his front wheel and requiring a trip to the pits.

Loose bodywork on-track then saw the Safety Car appear on Lap 16, bunching the pack up. Dennis was not impressed over the radio with Porsche stablemate Wehrlein - the German hanging onto fourth at the expense of the standings leader in the customer, Porsche-powered Avalanche Andretti.

On the restart, Evans led Buemi, Rast, Wehrlein, Dennis, Bird, Guenther, Vandoorne, da Costa and Ticktum - while Cassidy was able to rejoin after running repairs to his car's nose in 18th position. 

ATTACK MODE number one was yet again elusive for Dennis as he missed the loop for a second time, though luckily for him, he did manage to keep a hold of fifth position. A tour later on Lap 22, he finally made it work - leaving him fending off Guenther's Maserati MGS Racing Tipo Folgore but importantly, fifth.

Cassidy's season then did come to a premature end, mathematically out of the fight after retirement from Round 15 - his first of 2022/23.

With nine laps to go Dennis came under attack from fifth-placed Wehrlein into Turn 1. He had it all on keeping the factory Porsche behind him, eventually losing both fifth and sixth to the TAG Heuer Porsche pair when he took a second ATTACK MODE activation.

A big shunt for an airborne Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan) followed just behind Dennis, on Lap 28. The Nissan driver caught the back of Sergio Sette Camara's NIO 333 and hit the wall at Turn 16. It was a hefty impact, but thankfully the French-Argentine walked away unharmed.

Shortly before that Safety Car period a clash between Hughes and Wehrlein at Turn 1 saw the Porsche driver come off worst and into the wall - possibly crucial in the battle for top spot in the Teams' World Championship. The Red Flag was then flown with repairs required to the Tecpro barriers at Turn 16. Third-placed man Rast damaged his McLaren's front wing in the melee, requiring repairs under Parc Ferme conditions, meaning he'd take the restart from the back of the pack - the rest of the order taken as they were.

The Green Flag flew with four laps left to race and Evans led Buemi, da Costa, Dennis, Nato, Bird, Vandoorne, Sette Camara, Mortara, and di Grassi away.

The leader immediately jumped for his second ATTACK MODE activation and held the lead, Buemi followed but slipped to fourth - da Costa and Dennis squeezing by into second and third respectively on Lap 33 - enough to see Dennis home in the Drivers' order.

Nato then fired it up the inside of Buemi in a move for fourth but it was optimistic, to say the least. He caught the Envision and the pair slid into the wall at the penultimate corner - causing a chain reaction behind with cars unable to avoid the melee, enforcing another spell under Red Flag conditions.

It was three lap sprint to the flag at the restart with Dennis in position to take the Drivers' crown with a podium. All he had to do was hold Envision Racing's Buemi behind - though not even that was required in the end as Porsche's da Costa was slapped with a three-minute penalty for a technical infringement.

Evans lead the field home from Dennis and the title was the Brit's - a first British World Champion in Formula E.

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