Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein flies to Round 2 win under the lights in Diriyah

Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein flies to Round 2 win under the lights in Diriyah

27.01.2023: Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) stormed from ninth to the race win in the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix Round 2, with standings leader Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) following home in second after scything through the pack himself. Wehrlein wins for Por



Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) stormed from ninth to the race win in the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix Round 2, with standings leader Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) following home in second after scything through the pack himself.




Wehrlein wins for Porsche in Diriyah



Wehrlein looked terrifyingly quick as he picked his way through the points-paying positions, navigating two ATTACK MODE activations and by both polesitter Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) and another prior race leader in Sam Bird - the Jaguar TCS Racing driver coming home an eventual third.



The move for the lead came on Lap 30 at Turn 16, with Bird unable to hold back the 99X Electric Gen3 beneath Wehrlein - both driver and car looking monstrous for a second race on the spin. An emotional win for the 28-year-old, who once again credited his team with a monumental amount of work off-track to get things so right on it.



Dennis in the Porsche-powered Avalanche Andretti took the fight all the way to the line with his factory Porsche counterpart from all the way back in 11th on the grid, but he couldn't find a way beyond Wehrlein - who sealed his second Formula E win on his 50th start.



The result was a reversal of the one-two we saw back in Mexico City - and both TAG Heuer Porsche and Avalanche Andretti look to have thrown down the challenge in a big way to the rest of the field as the GEN3 development race continues at pace.



Bird was overjoyed to make the podium for the first time since winning in New York City back in Season 7 - calling it a "mini victory" for himself and Jaguar after a tough Season 8 for the Brit; the only season he'd failed to get his hands on Formula E silverware. Buemi and Envision Racing will be more than happy with a strong fourth, too - his best finish since the Season 6 finale in Berlin.



NEOM McLaren's Rene Rast started fifth and ended fifth amid a proper back and fourth in the middle of the points-paying positions - he also, as he so often does, sealed the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap. Meanwhile, Nick Cassidy made it two Envision Racing cars in the top six.




Jean-Eric Vergne fought from 12th to the points for DS PENSKE, winding up just ahead of Jake Hughes in the sister McLaren. Andre Lotterer (Avalanche Andretti) and Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) rounded out the top 10 - the latter slipping from sixth on the grid.



That left Dennis' standings lead at just a point over Werhlein - 44 to 43 points - while Avalanche Andretti retain their Teams' advantage over TAG Heuer Porsche, 58 to 49 points, with Envision Racing third.



We're back to do it all again at the same time tomorrow under the stars in historic Diriyah for the CORE Diriyah E-Prix Round 3.






As it happened...



After the tyre smoke cleared from the pre-race burnouts, Buemi got a boot full of wheelspin but managed to hold the lead from Hughes while Bird held off Ticktum’s advances. The field bunched and Antonio Felix da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche) was crowded into the wall as Evans and Rast scrapped at the second bend. The Portuguese did manage to return to the fray after running repairs in the pits but a lap down at the back.



On Lap 4 Bird was making moves, with a pass on Hughes’ McLaren for second at Turn 16. It didn’t take the Brit long to home in on leader Buemi, either. Neither of this front two led a lap last season – and Bird spied his chance on Lap 8 – at Turn 16 once again, diving up the inside of the Swiss for the lead.



Fourth, Fifth, sixth and seventh of Ticktum, Rast, Wehrlein and Evans were all nose to gearbox while Hughes in third pulled a second clear of the bunch. On Lap 9, Rast slipped up and sent it too deep at the chicane – Wehrlein pounced for fifth and needed no second invitation. At the same spot, standings leader Dennis pinched ninth from di Grassi.



NIO 333’s Ticktum was first to jump for ATTACK MODE, dropping him to seventh on Lap 12, before Evans overcooked it at Turn 16 and handed him a spot back – Cassidy and Dennis also sneaking by. Sacha Fenestraz swiped the nose off his Nissan, meanwhile, jumping through the ATTACK MODE loop and running wide into the wall on the dust off-line.



Energy management looked good for Bird, with his engineer telling him to push – the Brit already 1.8 seconds to the good on Buemi, which was enough of a cushion to hold P1 through his first, three-minute, ATTACK MODE boost.



Sixth to second and now ninth to fourth for Wehrlein in the race come Lap 15 – that Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 looks handy in race trim.



Once the ATTACK MODE activations started to shake out at the half-way stage, Bird was the big winner – holding and extending his lead over Buemi. Wehrlein continued to climb, now up to third, and Jake Dennis’ progress saw him rise from 11th to sixth. Bird led Buemi, Wehrlein, Rast, Hughes, Dennis, Cassidy, Ticktum, Evans and Vergne completed the top 10 – reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne was just 14th in his DS PENSKE.



As the race settled into its second half, on Lap 24, Bird and Buemi jumped for ATTACK MODE. Wehrlein dispatched Buemi for second, and was right on the Jaguar’s rear wing – almost making a dive at Turn 16 a lap later. The Porsche was two percent to the good on energy, with an ATTACK MODE remaining. On Lap 26, Wehrlein did try his luck for the lead but went too deep into the chicane – he’d go again, though.



Dennis’ climb continued, too, as on Lap 27 Dennis moved by Hughes and Cassidy for a net fifth.


Four laps after his last effort on Bird, Wehrlein did make it stick – again down at Turn 16. A textbook pass and with usable energy in-hand on those around him. Dennis continued his formation flying with the Porsche’s manoeuvres – taking fourth from Rast then third from Buemi as the Envision took his second ATTACK MODE. That 99X Electric Gen3 looked monstrous – again.



Wehrlein’s lead was just over a second with five laps to run and used Dennis’ pass on Bird for second to cover the time he’d lose taking that second ATTACK MODE jolt. Clever stuff from the factory Porsche squad. Dennis, though was now better off in terms of usable energy in the Porsche-powered Andretti – and just 0.775 seconds back from the German out front.



A straight fight to the end saw the pair scrap hard but Wehrlein held fast for his second Formula E win – the duo finishing in the reverse order they had in Mexico City.

 



Formula E also photo


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27.01.2023 / MaP

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