TAG Heuer Porsche snatches unexpected late victory on Italy’s Adriatic coast.

Pascal Wehrlein became the first double winner of the 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship campaign at Misano today (14 April), after Oliver Rowland dramatically ran out of energy on the final lap.

Wehrlein was in the mix from the outset at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, only for contact-induced front wing damage to leave him empty-handed on Saturday. Twenty-four hours later, the TAG Heuer Porsche star gained his revenge – although until the final few kilometres, he looked like he would have to settle for the runner-up spoils.

Having qualified third, Wehrlein engaged in an early duel with two-time champion Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Penske) and remained in the leading pack as drivers jockeyed for position over the opening half of the E-Prix. He hit the front for the first time on lap 11, and as the race headed into its closing phase, the battle for glory appeared to be between the German and Nissan Formula E Team rival Rowland as the pair made a break from the chasing pack.

With Rowland edging away on the penultimate tour, the result seemed set, but then the Briton – championship leader at the start of the day following his victory on Saturday – suddenly slowed almost within sight of the chequered flag as his energy level hit zero.

His pain was Porsche’s gain. Wehrlein’s sixth career triumph in the all-electric single-seater series – allied to an extra point for posting fastest lap – has vaulted him back to the summit of the Season 10 standings, tied at the top of the table with defending title-holder Jake Dennis.

It was the Andretti Formula E star who followed Wehrlein across the line in second place for his fourth trip to the podium this year. The Briton had his work cut out to defend his position late on, as Nico Müller’s ABT CUPRA Formula E Team car loomed ever-larger in his mirrors, but ultimately, it was the Swiss driver who found himself losing ground, as he conceded third place to a hard-charging Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing) by a scant five hundredths-of-a-second at the flag, denying him what would have been a first rostrum result in almost three years.

Having begun from pole position, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team’s Jake Hughes expended too much energy leading the way in the early laps to stay in the hunt for victory, and after crossing the finish line fifth, a five-second penalty for gaining an advantage by going off-track relegated the series sophomore to eighth.

The principal beneficiaries were Sacha Fenestraz – salvaging something for Nissan with a fine fifth place following a strong run – and Sérgio Sette Câmara, a season-high sixth for ERT Formula E Team, with front row starter Vergne winding up seventh.

Behind Hughes, Maserati MSG Racing Jehan Daruvala and Sam Bird (NEOM McLaren) rounded out the top ten, with the result marking the Indian rookie’s first Formula E points.

The action continues with a trip to the glamorous Principality of Monaco in a fortnight’s time (27 April) for the midway stage of the campaign.

Pascal Wehrlein, No. 94, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, said:

“Yesterday would have been better to win but I’m very happy about the race today. It was quite chaotic again in the beginning until mid-race. I wasn’t sure if I should stay in the lead or let Oli [Rowland] through the pace. His pace seemed a bit weird and too fast to try and defend so I didn’t defend him much. I was a bit surprised by his energy, I wasn’t sure if the team had the correct information or not. But in the end, it proved to be the right thing to do. It was a lot of managing; the energy, the battery, the tires. Just everything.

“It goes quickly from zero to hero, we know that in Formula E. I think we had the pace this weekend to win both races. Unfortunately yesterday with these kinds of races I was a bit of a victim with my front wing and then being at the back, but today was a big redemption for us.”

Jake Dennis, No. 1, Andretti Formula E Team, said:

“It all came together, from ninth to second is a pretty good day in the office but it was a struggle as you saw. As soon as the pace picked up at the front I just got dropped immediately and fell back into the clutches of both Nicks, it was just survival mode for me today. This weekend has been a real struggle but coming home with two second places when you’re starting outside of the top 10 yesterday is a good starting point.

“Just shows us how good the Porsche powertrain is, full credit to those guys for giving us the opportunity to do this. We’ve [Pascal Wehrlein] both obviously scored a lot of points and are sitting pretty towards the top end of the championship. Overall, a lot of hard work to do before Monaco to sort our qualifying pace out and then we can really start the championship.”

Nick Cassidy, No. 37, Jaguar TCS Racing, said:

“We had a good few opening laps, but the race was very difficult with the safety car for us. We moved the target up, gave people a chance to have an attack and pass me, as I’d already done my two attacks – I think I was the only car in the field that had done my two attacks when the safety car came, and that really hurt. But that happens sometimes. And then I got really lucky at the end. Well done to the ABT guys and to Nico [Müller] who had a great performance today. I think they deserve the podium.

“[Looking ahead to Monaco] I think I’m just going to stay at home, look at the trophy from last year, and rock up.”




Source : Fia