Formula E: Jaguar driver Nick Cassidy wins Saturday's race in Saudi Arabia
Nick Cassidy has won Saturday's Formula E race in Saudi Arabia. In the second race of the Diriyah E-Prix, the Jaguar driver beat Robin Frijns to take the lead in the world championship. Oliver Rowland in the Nissan completed the podium. Pascal Wehrlein finished seventh and champion Jake Dennis tenth.
Oliver Rowland did not get off to a good start from pole position and had to let Robin Frijns pass him in turn 1. Nick Cassidy also sensed his chance on the outside track, but remained third. Otherwise, there were hardly any changes in positions on the first lap. Dan Ticktum suffered the next setback, however, when he damaged his front wing in contact with another car. He had slid into the rear of Mitch Evans. The ERT driver came into the pits to replace the part.
Since Saturday's race was one lap shorter than the previous day, saving energy played an even smaller role. The race pace was correspondingly high. Jake Hughes attacked Jehan Daruvala and snatched fifth place from him. Rowland was the first rider in the leading group to take his first of two attack modes and dropped back behind Cassidy. One lap later, the leading Frijns also went through the attack zone and lost first place to Cassidy as a result.
Rowland also picked up his second attack mode straight away and defended third place against Stoffel Vandoorne. Cassidy pulled away at the front to gain a safety advantage. Once he had this, he drove through the attack zone and stayed in front - also because Frijns had already activated his second attack mode. Sam Bird attacked Sergio Sette Camara on the long straight and overtook him for 9th place, while Daruvala lost another position to Sacha Fenestraz due to the attack mode. Otherwise, there were hardly any overtaking manoeuvres in the first ten laps.
Cassidy & Frijns fly, only to slow down again
Pascal Wehrlein attacked Sette Camara and squeezed past in turn 18 - but not without contact. The championship leader was now in the top 10. Sette Camara was subsequently involved in further duels and gradually lost positions. Meanwhile, the two Jaguar cars of Cassidy and Frijns pulled away at the front. The duo's lead over Rowland was a good five seconds after 16 of 36 laps. However, both then slowed down to save energy and the field closed in again. Hughes passed Vandoorne and took over fourth place.
Frijns increased the pressure on Cassidy, but at this point had 0.4 per cent less energy reserves than the Jaguar works driver. Bird attacked Fenestraz, but was pushed far to the outside. Instead of gaining a place, he even lost one to Wehrlein, who was now eighth. Bird also suffered damage to the front end. He had to steer his McLaren into the pits and retire.
Wehrlein now put Jean-Eric Vergne under pressure and overtook the second-placed driver from Friday with a good manoeuvre for 7th place. All the drivers in the top 10 had completed their attack modes by lap 24. At the end of the long straight, Daruvala braked and drove straight into the run-off area. The Indian dropped back from tenth to 15th place. Meanwhile, Rowland had closed the gap to the leading duo - everything was back in the bag for the Nissan driver, who also had a slight energy advantage.
Cassidy withstands the pressure
The next shock for Maserati: Daruvala drove straight ahead again in turn 18, but this time stopped in the run-off area. "I have no more recuperation - some kind of problem with the brakes," he radioed. Yellow flags were waved at the spot for a long time until the car could be pushed away. Cassidy came under increasing pressure from Frijns and radioed to his team: "If I have to keep saving so much energy, I'm going to die."
? YELLOW FLAG ?@DaruvalaJehan brings out the yellow flag after suffering brake failure and running straight on at Turn 18.- Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 27, 2024
The @maseratimsg driver is the second retirement for this race.#DiriyahEPrix pic.twitter.com/5oxDOCrONY
But it wasn't just the leader who had to look in the rear-view mirrors. Frijns also saw himself under attack from Rowland. Then it was time for the final lap. Nato braked in turn 18, but was already at the back of the field. The focus was now on the leading group. Frijns tried to put the pressure on once more, but Cassidy did not allow anything more. He crossed the finish line in first place with a lead of just under 1.2 seconds. Frijns finished second ahead of Rowland and Hughes.
With his sixth Formula E victory - the first with Jaguar TCS Racing - Cassidy took the lead in the drivers' world championship. Wehrlein is second, followed by Vergne and Dennis. Among the teams, Jaguar is clearly in the lead. They are followed by DS Penske, Andretti and Porsche. World champion Envision is fifth. Mahindra and ABT are the only remaining teams without points.
The next Formula E race takes place in seven weeks' time: On 16 March, the electric series will make its second guest appearance in Sao Paulo.