Diriyah E-Prix 2 – Nick Cassidy continues his great start with Jaguar a he takes his first win with them after getting the better of Frijns and Rowland.
There will only be 21 cars lining up for the second Diriyah race as there was a crack found in Sebastien Buemi’s survival cell after his crash at the end of group B running and unfortunately for Buemi and Envision, there wasn’t enough time to get a new car built up.
Oliver Rowland will be starting on pole, the Brit has started in that position at least once in every full season of Formula E he’s competed in, and he’s got a pretty good record with it having made it to the podium in five of the six previous races he’s started from pole.
The Nissan driver will be joined on the front row by Robin Frijns while Nick Cassidy and Stoffel Vandoorne sit behind them on row 2.
As the lights went out to start the race, it was a close between Rowland and Frijns on the run to the first corner, the two almost coming together but the Envision driver got the better run and took the lead of the race.
By lap two there was almost a second’s gap between the first two cars while at the back ERT’s Dan Ticktum had to pit for a new front wing. As he did yesterday, Sam Bird got a good start by getting ahead of Maximilian Guenther and Pascal Wehrlein.
Vandoorne was the first to take an Attack Mode, the Penske driver activating his two minute boost at the end of lap 3, briefly falling behind Jake Hughes as he did. The following lap had Rowland take his two minutes which allowed Cassidy to move into P2.
Cassidy was soon into the lead when Frijns moved into the activation zone for his two minutes, the Dutch driver just managing to remain ahead of Rowland when he did so.
As the leaders did yesterday, Rowland took his second activation at the end of lap 6, the top two followed suit the next time around, both taking six minutes but Cassidy will still have his two minute stint to complete. It remained as Cassidy ahead of Frijns and Rowland.
As the top drivers remained in situ, Bird continued moving up, getting ahead of Sergio Sette Camara on lap 10 and then taking P8 from Jean-Eric Vergne the following lap when the Penske driver took his six minutes of Attack.
By lap 13 Cassidy was over two seconds ahead of Frijns while Rowland had fallen over six seconds behind the Envision racer. The next time around, Cassidy took his two minute Attack Mode, rejoining a second ahead of Frijns. The Dutch driver was then heard on the radio to his team as he’d been over-consuming energy so he was told to focus on efficiency for a few laps.
Outside the top ten, Mitch Evans and Jake Dennis got past Sette Camara for P12 and P13 as they tried to get into the points and get something out of the day.
By lap 18 the gap between the top two was down to half a second, Frijns sitting in the slipstream with just half a percent of energy less than the Jaguar driver as Envision told him he was under-consuming well.
On lap 21, as Bird tried a move on Fenestraz he didn’t get pass to stick and instead fell into the clutches of Wehrlein and dropped back to P8. Things went from bad to worse for the McLaren driver as the following lap his car was limping around with damaged suspension after contact with a wall and he retired in the pits.
Bird’s retirement and then Jehan Daruvala running wide from P10 saw Evans creep into the points in P10.
Lap 27 saw Yellow Flags out as Daruvala locked up and into the run off at T18 with brake failure. Evans took his final two minutes of Attack then which allowed Dennis to sneak past into P10.
With six laps to go, the top three were all within 0.8 seconds and Cassidy sounded worried about overconsuming while Rowland in P3 was told to hold position rather than risk fighting for more. The podium-sitters weren’t alone though as the top nine were all in a train with less than a second between each of them.
No one tried a risky move for glory in the end though and so it was Cassidy who took the win to make it two podiums and a win in his first three races for Jaguar. Frijns came home in P2 with polesitter Rowland in P3. McLaren took P4 again though today it was Hughes who took the place.
Vandoorne was P5 ahead of Fenestraz, giving Nissan their first double points finish of the season, while Mexico City winner, Wehrlein, was P7. Vergne ended the day in P8 while Guenther and Dennis rounded out the top ten. Dennis also took the point for fastest lap, as he did yesterday, having set a 1:10.296 a few laps before the end.
Update: post-race penalties meant that Dennis, along with Norman Nato and Sette Camara who’d taken the chequered flag in P16 and P17, all received 5 second penalties for overtaking under Yellow Flags. That shuffled Dennis down to P12, so Evans would move into P10 while race-winner Cassidy would get the point for fastest lap in the top 10 with a 1:10.606.