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Diriyah E-Prix: Round 3 Race Results

Who won under the lights in the second race of the weekend?

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Nick Cassidy took victory in the second race in Diriyah, seeing off challenges from Robin Frijns and Oliver Rowland. 

Nick Cassidy on his way to victory in the Diriyah E-Prix (Image Credit: Simon Galloway/Formula E)
Nick Cassidy on his way to victory in the Diriyah E-Prix (Image Credit: Simon Galloway/Formula E)
Pre-race

Several drivers had something to prove as the cars took to the grid. Pascal Weirlien’s challenging weekend in Diriyah continued; an underwhelming qualifying performance saw him start P10. Sebastien Buemi’s car damage proved terminal, leaving him unable to take the start after his qualifying crash.

Reigning Champion and yesterday’s winner Jake Dennis was knocked out early during qualifying, lined up a disappointing P15. After finishing P2 in Friday’s race, Jean-Eric Vergne could only manage P8. António Félix da Costa’s nightmare start to 2024 continued, as he started last in his Porsche.

The form book was ripped up at the top end of the grid. Oliver Rowland’s Nissan struggled for pace on Friday but was on rails as it qualified on Saturday, powering to a dominant pole position. Robin Frijns’ Envision joined him on the front row.

Nick Cassidy lined up P3 after a strong performance, hoping to improve on his P3 finish in the first race.  Stoffel Vandoorne and Jehan Daruvala looked set for a more positive race, lining up P4 and P5.

With no pre-race dramas for any of the teams, the cars prepared to race under the lights in Diriyah for the second time in 24 hours. Rowland targeted victory but had rivals lining up behind him to stop him.

Lights out

Rowland lost the lead to Frijns at the first corner, Rowland demoted to second. Cassidy held position as the three cars attempted to take the racing line, but all avoided a collision. Rowland complained of his car at the rear feeling odd, worried a ride over the kerb may have caused damage.

Behind the top three, the cars remained line astern, with very few moves taking place. Jake Dennis, Mitch Evans and Vergne remained stuck in the lower order but could not move forward.  Daruvala lost one place but was able to continue in the points.

Dan Ticktum endured a nightmare start after an ambitious first corner, needing to pit for a front wing.

Attacking early

Vandoorne chose to take his attack mode on lap 3, with Oliver Rowland following a lap later. The gap to Cassidy and Frijns began to open up immediately, with Rowland now having to defend from Vandoorne.

Frijns joined in the attack mode fun on lap 5, losing just one place. Cassidy was now leading but did not have attack mode. The Jaguar began to push to break away from the top two.

Rowland took his second attack mode immediately, going very early. Time would tell if this was the right move or not. Cassidy took his attack mode on lap 7, emerging in the lead. Frijns followed him through, with the top three now having little extra energy left. Rowland was now demoted to P3 and would need to find his way back to the front on track.

Behind the leaders, those out of position had yet to take any attack mode by lap 9. Werhlein remained stuck in P11, Vergne in P8. Sam Bird passed Sette Camara on lap ten and pushed hard to get a gap for his first dive into the attack mode zone.

Vergne lost a position to Bird, the McLaren now up to P8. Fenestraz created an opportunity for Daruvala and Vergne after he took his attack mode but was able to hold position in P6.  The second McLaren of Jake Hughes, now running in P4, took his extra energy boost, hoping to catch Rowland for P3.

Cassidy took his final attack mode on lap 13, emerging still in the lead. Frijns received a warning on the same lap for over-consumption, needing to back off from Cassidy to conserve his energy.

The tables turn

Sette Camara lost positions to Evans and Dennis as both steamed through.  Dennis hit the rear of Evans, but no damage was done to either car.  Werlein and Gunther took their attack modes and set off after points, both badly needed after a difficult weekend.

Sam Bird came under attack from Wehrlein but was able to keep him behind. Dennis set the fastest lap on lap 19, clearly happier with the balance of his car than in qualifying.

Frijns rapidly closed down Cassidy despite conserving energy. The two drivers engaged in a duel that would take them through to the end of the race. Rowland began to close in, bringing Hughes and Vandoorne with him. None had attack mode, so a duel on track was now inevitable.

Bird lost two places on lap 22 after an ambitious move on Werlhein failed. The incident damaged his left front suspension, resulting in a retirement for McLaren.

Vergne became Werhlein’s next target. After failing initially, the Porsche took P7 easily on lap 24, as the tables finally began to turn for the German.

Daruvala ran wide and dropped right back to P13 in the queue of drivers before retiring one lap later, stopping at turn 18 with brake failure. The stricken car bought out a yellow flag.

 

No way through

With just five laps left, the race was on for the win. Nothing separated the top ten drivers, and Cassidy had to think tactically to keep his lead. But every time Cassidy attempted to pull away, Frijns and the train of cars followed.

Ultimately, Cassidy held on to the victory, taking the win from Frijns, a disappointed Rowland, Hughes, Vandoone, Fenestraz, Werhlein, and Vergne, Gunther, with Jake Dennis completing the top ten.

Final Classification

 

Feature Image Credit: Sam Bagnall/Formula E

 

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