INDIAN NEWS & TIMES

Monday, January 30, 2023

Rounds 2 and 3 in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship take place this Friday and Saturday with the 2023 CORE Diriyah E-Prix featuring the first double-header of Season 9 and the only night races on the 16-race calendar. 

Following a memorable season opener with the 2023 Hankook Mexico City E-Prix on 14 January, the all-new GEN3 will compete in the Middle East for the first time giving fans the opportunity to see a race car performing at the very limit of innovation and pushing the boundaries of EV technology.

The 2.495km Diriyah Street Circuit is on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and follows the historic city walls of the UNESCO World Heritage site. With 21 twists and turns, the technical first sector leads to a snaking Bobsleigh Run at turn six with a series of fast changes and quick turns in succession. Diriyah is a firm favourite for drivers as one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar for balancing energy management

AS IT STANDS

Avalanche Andretti Formula E team driver Jake Dennis tops the Drivers’ World Championship after winning the first race of the third generation of Formula E with a dominant drive in Mexico City, having earned front row in qualifying.

Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) followed home in second – the pair 11 seconds clear of third-placed Lucas di Grassi for Mahindra Racing in a hard-fought first race for the Anglo-Indian team.

Dennis and Wehrlein were among four of the top seven cars across the line to feature the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 power train, putting Avalanche Andretti and TAG Heuer Porsche at the top of the Teams’ Championship.

Early-season favourites DS PENSKE finished unexpectedly in mid-pack, something not many predicted after DS-powered Maserati MSG Racing posted the benchmark time of the week and had topped five of seven timed sessions in pre-season testing in Valencia, with both DS PENSKE drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Éric Vergne also in the top three.

As it happened, reigning champion Vandoorne and double champion JEV qualified outside the top 10 ahead of Round 1, and Vandoorne recovered only four spots to take a point with 10th at the chequered flag. Vergne ran in mid-pack too before he misjudged an overtake and clipped Sacha Fenestraz to finish 12th.

NEOM McLaren Formula E Team driver Jake Hughes may be a rookie but his eye-catching testing performances were backed up by a strong first race outing in Mexico City. He wound up fifth but had challenged for a podium throughout. His team, formerly Mercedes-EQ, can count the joint-most wins in Diriyah via Season 7 champion Nyck de Vries. Brit Hughes has the tools at his disposal to go well again on weekend number two in Formula E.

Jaguar TCS Racing sit sixth in the Teams’ table as technical teething troubles saw Sam Bird retire from Round 1 with a broken driveshaft after stopping on track in free practice with a fault. But nobody has won more races in Saudi Arabia than Bird – his two victories are tied with de Vries – and nobody has gone quicker around the Diriyah Street Circuit.