FormulaNerds Cut To The Race Podcast

Max Günther on track during the Rome E-Prix

Rome E-Prix: Early crash between title contenders changes state of championship

The championship battle came to a head in the city of Rome

Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast

Jake Dennis took the win, with a crash between Cassidy and Evans promising to change the landscape of the championship fight. 

Jake Dennis on track at the Rome E-Prix
It worked out well for Dennis. For his rivals, not so much… (Image credit: Formula E)

Jake Dennis started on pole, with championship leader Nick Cassidy lining up right behind him. Saturday’s race winner Mitch Evans started from fourth on the grid after being beaten by Cassidy in the qualifying semi-final. Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz – who qualified third on Saturday – started the race from down in P22 after being unable to take part in qualifying.

Dennis lost his championship lead to Cassidy after Saturday’s race, but pole position spelt an opportunity for the Andretti driver to claw that lead back. Cassidy’s lead was slim, with only five points between the two drivers.

Starting grid

Lights out

Jake Dennis got away well, but Cassidy immediately challenged for the race lead as they headed into the first corner. Nothing came of it, and Dennis continued to lead, beginning to pull away from the Envision driver. Nato had great momentum behind him, leapfrogging Cassidy on the opening lap to take P2.

Cassidy managed to reclaim second position from Nato, who then proceeded to lose out to Evans too. The title challengers went three wide as they jostled for the race lead, but Dennis managed to maintain his position. Mortara had a brilliant first two laps, moving up into sixth. Conversely his teammate, Günther, had dropped a place.

Travesty for the title challengers

As he closed in on Nick Cassidy, Mitch Evans completely locked the rear tyres. The Jaguar slid sideways, clipping the rear of   Cassidy’s car before lifting up and over the Envision. Both drivers were unharmed, but their cars sustained significant damage. Evans stopped by the pits for a new front wing, whilst Cassidy rejoined the race near the back of the pack.

The incident brought out a safety car, which came back in two laps later. Racing got back underway on lap 4, with Andretti’s Jake Dennis still in the lead. Behind him was Norman Nato, and in third was Evans’ teammate Sam Bird. Pascal Wehrlein had managed to work his way up to P9, a position behind teammate António Félix da Costa. Lap 4 saw the majority of drivers towards the back of the pack opt for their first attack mode.

Evans soon reported the car as “undriveable”. Jaguar called him back into the pits; though they made a valiant attempt to repair the car, nothing could come of it. Mitch Evans was forced to retire early from the race.

Nato clips Dennis

Up until this point, Nato had been extremely competitive. But as he challenged Dennis for the race lead, his Nissan made contact with the rear of Dennis’ Avalanche Andretti. Nato picked up damage to his front wing but continued to drive, clinging onto second place.

As Nato activated attack mode, Sam Bird moved up into second place. Meanwhile, Dan Ticktum was having a brilliant race up in P4. Lap 9 saw da Costa go straight down the run-off at turn 7, losing out seven positions as a result. This played into the hands of Nick Cassidy, who was able to slip up to the cusp of the points, now in P11.

Sam Bird began to challenge Jake Dennis for the race lead, right on the tail of the Andretti. Dennis did well to defend, not once providing Bird with the opportunity to make a move. Heading into turn 7, Bird ran alongside Jake Dennis — but, once again, couldn’t quite make an overtake work.

Halfway point

Crossing just over the halfway threshold, Sam Bird opted to take attack mode. The Jaguar driver rejoined the pack in fourth, slipping in neatly behind the Envision of Sébastien Buemi. Buemi’s teammate Cassidy also opted for attack mode, falling back down the order to P15.

Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein had worked his way up to P8, behind Ticktum and ahead of Vandoorne. The two Maseratis were running in P5 and P6, with Mortara ahead of teammate Max Günther. Norman Nato – who still had a damaged front wing – was up in second place, putting in a strong drive despite the damage to his Nissan.

Whilst Vandoorne was running in the pints, his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne was all the way down in P18. The only driver running behind him was Sacha Fenestraz. At this point, both Mahindras had been forced to retire; di Grassi’s race came to an early end after he clipped the right rear against the barriers on the run out of turn 8.

Bird on the hunt

By lap 18, Sam Bird had worked his way back up to P3 and was now chasing down Norman Nato for second. Speaking to the team over the radio, the Jaguar driver requested that they ask Sébastien Buemi, who was running in P4, to hold up the Maseratis behind him.

It didn’t seem like the request went through, as Buemi took attack mode almost immediately afterwards. This allowed Mortara to move up into P4. Luckily for Bird, there seemed to be a decent gap between the Jaguar and the Maserati. And, speaking of gaps, race leader Jake Dennis was now running up in the front with over a second between him and Nato.

The final laps

Bird continued to hunt down Nato, growing closer by the second. Dennis’ lead remained comfortable, allowing the Jaguar and the Nissan to duke it out behind him. In fourth was Mortara, with Buemi behind him, separating the two Maseratis.

Da Costa had worked his way back up into the points, now in P10, whilst Pascal Wehrlein was running in P7. The McLarens didn’t seem to have much pace to speak of, with both cars down in P14 and P15, Hughes ahead of teammate Rast. Nick Cassidy was still short of a points-finish, stuck in P13 behind the Andretti of Andre Lotterer.

As the pack embarked on the final lap, Dennis looked on track to win, with the fastest lap under his belt too. Bird continued to challenge for P2. Although he had three percent more energy than Nato, Bird couldn’t quite pip the Nissan to the second step of the podium. There was further drama on the last lap as Lotterer and Cassidy went two aside into the barriers. Whilst Cassidy was able to get going again – finishing P14 – Lotterer was left stranded in the barriers.

Final results

Featured Image Credit: Maserati MSG Racing on Twitter

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Back to the top