Formula E

Formula E: Max Günther defeats Oliver Rowland in the premiere race in Tokyo

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

Maximilian Günther has won the Formula E race premiere in Tokyo. The German Maserati driver cleverly worked his way to the front and successfully defended against Nissan driver Oliver Rowland in a thrilling final phase, who once again finished on the podium in second place. Jake Dennis (Andretti) finished third ahead of the two Porsche drivers.

Pole-sitter Oliver Rowland got off the line well and defended his line directly against Max Günther. Edo Mortara shot up the outside lane and made up a place on Günther. He was even ahead of Rowland at one point, but then had to drop back. Jake Dennis passed Sergio Sette Camara. There were initially no further position changes immediately behind him.

On lap 3, Pascal Wehrlein attacked Sette Camara and moved up to fifth place. Porsche team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa also worked his way forward early on and caught the eye with good manoeuvres against Norman Nato and Sette Camara, who in turn continued to be passed.

Meanwhile, the drama continued for McLaren: Jake Hughes was pushed aside by Lucas di Grassi in a duel and slid head-on into the TecPro barrier at turn 15. This left the two Papaya Oranges together at the back of the field. Yellow flags were waved briefly, but then Hughes was able to free himself under his own power, continue and return to the pits for repairs. On lap 9, Wehrlein was the first driver in the leading group to make his first attack relatively late and held his position ahead of team-mate Felix da Costa.

Felix da Costa ploughs through the field

Due to the largely narrow track characteristics, the number of overtaking manoeuvres in the early stages was manageable. Mortara successfully spread out against Günther until he finally went into attack mode on lap 11 and lost a position. Wehrlein was also unable to overtake Dennis in front of him, despite his improved performance. On lap 15, Rowland finally got his first attack mode - the first change of lead in Tokyo.

Günther's lead did not last long, however, because the Maserati driver also headed for the attack zone. Although he initially fell behind Rowland and Mortara again, he finally managed to overtake the Mahindra driver on lap 15 - second place for him in the adjusted standings. Meanwhile, Felix da Costa had swapped places with team-mate Wehrlein. On lap 17, the Portuguese showed the next strong attack against Dennis and took over fourth place.

Then things got wild: first Mitch Evans skidded while trying to overtake, hit the wall and sustained damage to the front end. He had to pit due to smoke and dropped to the back of the field - a bitter setback for the title contender in his 100th Formula E race!

Günther takes the lead without a fight

Almost simultaneously, Wehrlein suddenly found himself in the thick of the action and clashed with various rivals. He damaged his front wing and dropped back to 8th place. On lap 20, race control sent the safety car onto the track for two laps to collect debris from the track.

Rowland easily defended his lead at the restart. Behind him, however, the battle was fierce. Several drivers showed up regularly and hoped for mistakes from those in front. On lap 25, Günther passed Rowland with a simple manoeuvre and took the lead! Rowland had apparently let him past voluntarily in order to save energy.

Günther pulled out a small safety lead and even remained at the front of the field during his second Attack Mode activation. Rowland had one per cent less energy than his direct rivals at this point. He still had to keep an eye on his reserves. Despite a damaged front wing, Wehrlein made up a place on Frijns and was seventh behind the two Andretti cars of Dennis and Nato on lap 27.

Günther holds his victory against Rowland

Mortara drove through the attack zone for the second time and returned to the racing line right next to Dennis. Contact was made. Mortara eventually had to retire. Meanwhile, race control announced that the E-Prix would be extended by two additional laps due to the safety car phase. Certainly not good news for Rowland. Third-placed Felix da Costa already sensed his chance...

There was contact between Nato and Frijns on lap 32. The Dutchman lost his front wing and dropped back to tenth place. Felix da Costa then took heart and dared to attack Rowland on the outside. However, he was unable to get past, which meant he had to make another turn and lost third place to Dennis as he accelerated out!

On the final lap, Rowland launched several more attacks against Günther, but the German spread out and took the racing line. Günther took the victory across the finish line and put a spanner in the works for Nissan in their home race! Nevertheless, a strong result for the Japanese and Rowland. Dennis finished third ahead of Felix da Costa. Wehrlein overtook Mortara, who was later disqualified for using too much energy. Nato lost a number of positions in the final metres.

Wehrlein new championship leader, first points for ABT

Pascal Wehrlein has taken the lead in the drivers' championship. For a moment, he had been level on points with Nick Cassidy until the stewards cancelled a penalty against Norman Nato. Oliver Rowland is now third ahead of Jake Dennis and Max Günther, who also took fifth place overall thanks to his fifth career win.

Jaguar continues to lead the team standings ahead of Porsche and Andretti. Nissan is now fourth. Due to a subsequent disqualification against Edo Mortara, Mahindra also scored no points in Tokyo. However, Nico Müller scored the first world championship points for ABT Cupra in sixth place! The German team thus climbed to ninth place.

The next Formula E race is just two weeks away (13 & 14 April). The electric series will then make its first guest appearance in Misano, Italy - directly with a double-header.

Results & times

Overall standings (drivers & teams)

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