2022/23 ROUND 2: AD DIRIYAH E-PRIX
PHOTO: formula e media
Pascal Wehrlein stormed from ninth to the race win, with standings leader Jake Dennis following home in second
After the tyre smoke cleared from the pre-race burnouts, Buemi got a boot full of wheelspin but managed to hold the lead from Hughes while Bird held off Ticktum’s advances. The field bunched and Antonio Felix da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche) was crowded into the wall as Evans and Rast scrapped at the second bend. The Portuguese did manage to return to the fray after running repairs in the pits but a lap down at the back.
On Lap 4 Bird was making moves, with a pass on Hughes’ McLaren for second at Turn 16. It didn’t take the Brit long to home in on leader Buemi, either. Neither of this front two led a lap last season – and Bird spied his chance on Lap 8 – at Turn 16 once again, diving up the inside of the Swiss for the lead.
Fourth, Fifth, sixth and seventh of Ticktum, Rast, Wehrlein and Evans were all nose to gearbox while Hughes in third pulled a second clear of the bunch. On Lap 9, Rast slipped up and sent it too deep at the chicane – Wehrlein pounced for fifth and needed no second invitation. At the same spot, standings leader Dennis pinched ninth from di Grassi.
NIO 333’s Ticktum was first to jump for ATTACK MODE, dropping him to seventh on Lap 12, before Evans overcooked it at Turn 16 and handed him a spot back – Cassidy and Dennis also sneaking by. Sacha Fenestraz swiped the nose off his Nissan, meanwhile, jumping through the ATTACK MODE loop and running wide into the wall on the dust off-line.
Energy management looked good for Bird, with his engineer telling him to push – the Brit already 1.8 seconds to the good on Buemi, which was enough of a cushion to hold P1 through his first, three-minute, ATTACK MODE boost. Sixth to second and now ninth to fourth for Wehrlein in the race come Lap 15 – that Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 looks handy in race trim.
Once the ATTACK MODE activations started to shake out at the half-way stage, Bird was the big winner – holding and extending his lead over Buemi. Wehrlein continued to climb, now up to third, and Jake Dennis’ progress saw him rise from 11th to sixth.
Bird led Buemi, Wehrlein, Rast, Hughes, Dennis, Cassidy, Ticktum, Evans and Vergne completed the top 10 – reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne was just 14th in his DS PENSKE
As the race settled into its second half, on Lap 24, Bird and Buemi jumped for ATTACK MODE. Wehrlein dispatched Buemi for second, and was right on the Jaguar’s rear wing – almost making a dive at Turn 16 a lap later. The Porsche was two percent to the good on energy, with an ATTACK MODE remaining. On Lap 26, Wehrlein did try his luck for the lead but went too deep into the chicane – he’d go again, though. Dennis’ climb continued, too, as on Lap 27 Dennis moved by Hughes and Cassidy for a net fifth.
Four laps after his last effort on Bird, Wehrlein did make it stick – again down at Turn 16. A textbook pass and with usable energy in-hand on those around him. Dennis continued his formation flying with the Porsche’s manoeuvres – taking fourth from Rast then third from Buemi as the Envision took his second ATTACK MODE. That 99X Electric Gen3 looked monstrous – again.
Wehrlein’s lead was just over a second with five laps to run and used Dennis’ pass on Bird for second to cover the time he’d lose taking that second ATTACK MODE jolt. Clever stuff from the factory Porsche squad. Dennis, though was now better off in terms of usable energy in the Porsche-powered Andretti – and just 0.775 seconds back from the German out front.
A straight fight to the end saw the pair scrap hard but Wehrlein held fast for his second Formula E win – the duo finishing in the reverse order they had in Mexico City.
Report taken from: FiaFormulaE.com