Formula E: Cassidy takes sensational victory in Berlin crash festival

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Having lacked pace throughout the qualifying session, Jaguar driver Nick Cassidy took a surprise victory in the opening race of the Berlin E-Prix weekend. F1Technical’s senior writer Balázs Szabó reports from the Berlin E-Prix paddock.

Having secured a surprise pole position, Edoardo Mortara got a clean start to maintain the lead as everyone completed the first corners cleanly. However, there were a few battles later on on the opening lap with Sergio Sette Camara taking over third place from Jean-Eric Vergne.

Race leader Mortara elected to take his first attack mode quite early in the 30-lap race which saw the Swiss racer fall back into P5. Mortara’s decision handed over the race lead to DS Penske racer Stoffel Vandoorne.

Surprisingly, championship leader Pascal Wehrlein decided to hit the front after overtaking both DS Penske drivers. However, the Porsche driver's lead did not last long as the German also decided to go for two minutes of 350kW which saw Vandoorne take over the lead.

On Lap 11, full course yellow was activated as Envision Virgin’s Joel Ericsson stopped between Turn 4 and 5. Having picked up significant damage both at the front and the rear of his car, the Jaguar reserve driver was unable to continue, and race director Scott Elkins needed to deploy the safety car.

Although Ericsson’s car was quickly cleared, the race control needed some time to check the order of the restart as several drivers made overtaking moves right at the time when the safety car was deployed.

When the race was restarted, Vergne led the field, but Wehrlein quickly took over the lead from the Frenchman. However, the German elected to take his second and final attack mode which saw him drop down into P4. In the meantime, Vandoorne slipped to 12th after leading the initial stages of the race.

Having been the man on the mission in the first half of the race, Maserati driver Maximilian Guenther crashed into the wall on the exit of Turn 19. The yellow flags were out immediately, but the race control had to sent the safety car out for the second time.

When the race resumed, Jaguar racer Mitch Evans found himself at the front if the field, but he still needed to go through the attack mode once. Following a four-way battle into Turn 6, Porsche driver Antonio Felix da Costa took over the lead ahead of Oliver Rowland, Vergne and Evans.

While the top drivers battled out at the front, Jack Dennis fought his way up into P4, having started the race from P20. However, his dream of a good result did not last long as he suffered a puncture which forced him to the pits to take new tyres.

As the race approached its final stages, Evans elected to take his second and final attack mode. In the meantime, Scot Elkins confirmed that the race would be extended with six laps due to the lengthy interruptions.

With only a few laps left, Nick Cassidy was eager to use his impressive late race speed, and he worked his way up quite quickly.

In the dying stages of the race, Cassidy managed to pull away from the chasing pack as his rivals had no answer to his pace. However, the fight for the remaining two podium places ramped up with several drivers displaying similar pace as they looked after

The New-Zealander took a sensational victory after a very difficult start to his race with Vergne and Rowland completing the podium in the opening race of this weekend's Berlin E-Prix double-header.

Expanding on his victory at the opening round of the Berlin double-header, Cassidy said: "I really didn’t expect to end up with the result we did today, but it feels great.

"In the first half of the race, I dropped to the back of the pack, and ultimately thought my race was over, but I had a lot more energy than a lot of the field ahead of me, and after the second safety car, I was able to maximise this energy advantage to make my way through the field. This is now my sixth podium in nine races, and I’m now back into the lead of the Drivers’ World Championship. We’ll keep pushing!"

All that saw Cassidy top the Drivers' World Championship heading into Round 10 on Sunday, with 121 points to Wehrlein's 112. Jaguar TCS Racing lead the Teams' running 210 points to 146 from TAG Heuer Porsche - the British outfit enjoying another trip to the top step after their Monaco one-two.

The 2024 Berlin E-Prix will resume on Sunday with a second race at the Tempelhof Airfield.