Monday, April 15, 2024

Jakarta E-Prix: Pascal Wehrlein Bounces Back to Claim Victory

Pascal Wehrlein returned to winning ways after a recent run of bad races, with a stellar performance at the Jakarta E-Prix. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team driver put on a strong defensive display to win the tenth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from Jake Dennis and Maximilian Günther. Championship leader Nick Cassidy could only salvage seventh.

Wehrlein Hits the Front

With Cassidy starting from tenth, Dennis knew he had a huge chance to take a big chunk out of the Kiwi’s advantage, with the Briton having qualified on the front row. Nobody could stop Günther though, from claiming pole position, with the German having topped every single session so far this weekend. Could Günther extend his run?

As the lights went out, it was the Maserati MSG Racing driver who had the better start, with Dennis having fallen backwards. Günther retained the lead into the opening corner whilst Dennis tumbled to fourth, behind championship rival Wehrlein and reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne. Wehrlein was clearly a man on a mission given that he recently lost the lead of the standings, with the German having overtaken Günther for the lead on Lap Four.

Wehrlein swept past his German counterpart at the opening corner, whilst Vandoorne in third opted to take his first Attack Mode. Over the next couple laps, Wehrlein, Günther, and Dennis all activated their first Attack Mode, with the trio having maintained position. Elsewhere, Cassidy made three places in the first seven laps to be in seventh by Lap Seven, whilst fellow championship contender Mitch Evans ran in ninth.

Dennis Hunts Down Wehrlein

The end of Lap Eight saw a change of leader, as Wehrlein opted to activate his second Attack Mode, demoting him to third behind Günther and Vandoorne. By Formula E standards it was certainly a calm start to the race, likely due to the nature of the track and that energy preservation wasn’t as important as it has been at previous rounds.

Lap Fifteen and Dennis slipped to fourth after activating his final Attack Mode; however, the Briton did boast more energy than those ahead of him. Fourth became third at the start of Lap Seventeen, as the Avalanche Andretti Formula E driver dived down the inside of Vandoorne at the opening corner, before starting his pursuit of Wehrlein and Günther.

Dennis got onto the back of Günther on Lap Twenty-One and quickly made his way into second, again at the opening corner. Cassidy a few places behind tried to perform a similar move on Jean-Éric Vergne for fifth; however, the Kiwi came from too far back and collided with the Frenchman, something they both somehow escaped undamaged from.

Jaguar’s Collide Once Again

The battle between Wehrlein and Dennis commenced on Lap Twenty-Four, with the German having blocked Dennis from sweeping past at the opening corner, allowing Günther and Vandoorne to get onto the back of the Andretti driver. The moment allowed Wehrlein to build a small gap, which Dennis quickly tried to eradicate.

It all settled down again for the next few laps, as Wehrlein remained in the lead from Dennis and Günther. Dennis and Günther both boasted a percent more energy than Wehrlein; however, it seemed like neither driver could make their slim advantage count. Lap Thirty-Two and their remarkably still hadn’t been a single yellow flag, in what was certainly a rarity for Formula E.

By Lap Thirty-Three of Thirty-Six, the front three had built a gap of over two seconds to the DS Penske drivers, somewhat securing who’d feature on the rostrum. The only question which remained is what order the top three would finish in. A yellow flag though, was required seconds later, as Evans was punted into the barrier at the opening corner by Sam Bird, marking the second time this season that Bird has caused his team-mate to spin. It marked a woeful day for Jaguar TCS Racing.

Wehrlein Returns to Winning Ways

Due to the yellow flag at the opening corner, Dennis lost his best opportunity to make a move on Wehrlein, with the German having held on to claim his third victory of the season, massively reducing Cassidy’s lead in the standings to just two points. It marked Wehrlein’s first win and rostrum since his second win of the season in Diriyah, whilst Dennis finished second to mark a third consecutive rostrum.

Günther held on for a brilliant third to mark two podiums from the last three races. Vandoorne finished fourth whilst Vergne completed the top five. Cassidy claimed seventh marking a disappointing result, with him having a lot of work to do on Sunday. The Kiwi did at least claim the bonus point for fastest lap.

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