The double-header of this weekend's Diriyah E-Prix saw Andretti's Jake Dennis took victory in the Friday's race while Jaguar's Nick Cassidy clinched a hard-fought win in the Saturday's round. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on the Formula E Diriyah E-Prix double-header.Race 1 of the Diriyah E-Prix
Jean-Eric Vergne took pole position for Round 2 of the 2024 FIA Formula E World Championship, and the two-time FE champion was able to maintain the lead at the start. However, the Frenchman took his first power boost on Lap 4 which allowed Mitch Evans and Jake Dennis to fly by.
The next lap saw the New-Zealander go through the activation zone to take a two-minute power boost, with Dennis mimicking his rivals two laps later. The next lap saw Vergne activate his second power boost which resulted in him losing two places.
Surprisingly, Evans then appeared to struggle for pace which happened to him in the season-opening Mexico City E-Prix. On Lap 17, Vergne closed in on his rival, and overtook him for P2 with their battle allowing Dennis to build up a two-second gap at the front.
Laps 23 and 24 proved critical in terms of strategy, as many drivers in the top ten opted to go through the activation zone, with Nick Cassidy the only driver to use both his attack modes.
By Lap 25, Dennis had enjoyed a gap of 2.5s ahead of Vergne, who in turn had a comfortable margin of 1.8s in front of Evans. However, as the race approached its final races, Vergne dropped back further, with Evans and his team-mate Cassidy having closing in on him.
Evans made a last-ditch move for second at Turn 18 on the final tour but it proved costly - the Kiwi massively overcooking it, unable to stop the car and slipping to fifth while Cassidy stole in to take third.
In the meantime, Dennis won the second E-Prix of the season, with Vergne and Cassidy finishing on the two lower steps of the rostrum. Bird took a surprise P3 due to Evans, who ended up fifth with Norman Nato, Maximilian Guenther, Pascal Wehrlein, Sergio Sette Camara and Robin Frijns completing the point-scoring top ten.
The second Diriyah E-Prix of the weekend saw Jaguar's Nick Cassidy seal a first win for the team of Season 10, and his maiden victory for the British.
After securing pole position in qualifying, Oliver Rowland took the first starting position, but he was unable to maintain the lead for long as Robin Frijns got the jump on him into the first corner.
With the leaders, Rowland and Frijns having taken their first of the two mandatory 50kW attack modes, Nick Cassidy managed to hit the front. The Kiwi built up enough of a gap to go through the activation zone without losing the lead.
Frijns was adamant to close in on the leader, but his engineer warned him not to overconsume his energy, which could have hurt his late race pace. In the meantime, pole-sitter Rowland lost the connection to the leading duo, having dropped back by four seconds to second-placed Frijns by Lap 17.
On Lap 26, Maserati's newcomer Jehan Daruvala pulled off the track, retiring from the action due to technical issues.
Elsewhere, yesterday's race winner Jake Dennis had a difficult evening as he only started from P14, and he could hardly make up positions during the second E-Prix in Diriyah.
While Cassidy looked dominant in the early part of the race, his advantage had been quietly ebbing away despite that early push, and by Lap 17 Frijns was right with the Jaguar. The direct pack behind the leading duo - Rowland, Jakes Hughes, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sacha Fenestraz, Pascal Wehrlein, Jean-Eric Vergne and Maximilian Guenther - also closed in on Cassidy and Frijns as the race approached its final stages.
Despite the close gaps at the front, nobody was able to make a move in the dying second of the race, leaving Cassidy to clinch his first victory with Jaguar in his 50th Formula E race. Frijns and pole-sitter Rowland completed the podium with Hughes, Vandoorne, Wehrlein, Vergne, Guenther, Dennis bringing up the rear of the point-scoring pack.
Cassidy's victory propels him to an 18-point lead in the Drivers' World Championship, with Jaguar TCS Racing securing a significant lead in the Teams' standings. The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship moves next to Sao Paulo for Round 4 on 16th March, where the electric excitement continues.
Commenting on his victory, Cassidy said: “This is awesome I mean it's such a dream. I've got an amazing car and I'm so privileged but this here… I mean – I want it that way.
“Every win is special, it’s just been a dream start. I’m waiting for a bad day, it’s gonna come but for now we ride, we ride. I took advantage at the start – I initially thought I went too hard at the start – but, you know, Jaguar TCS Racing gave me an amazing car and I’m super lucky.”
NICK CASSIDY WINS IN DIRIYAH! 🇸🇦— Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 27, 2024
🖤🤍 On his 50th Formula E race, @NickCassidy_ catapults himself to a sizeable lead in the Drivers’ Championship with a HUGE win in the #DiriyahEPrix Round 3! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/YQTozvCl9p