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Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy put in a scintillating performance on Sunday to secure his first win in Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Cassidy became the second Kiwi to taste success in Berlin this weekend, following a victory for his countryman, Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans, on Saturday.
The victory has asserted Cassidy’s title credentials with the 28-year-old closing Pascal Werhlein’s (Tag Heuer Porsche) lead in the Championship to just four points.
The Envision man had to fend off pressure from fellow title challengers Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) and Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske), but kept his cool to take the chequered flag in first place.
“I knew I was in the fight,” he said, taking in the atmosphere post-race. “I’ve been in the fight the last five races. Yesterday, we had a great opportunity as well and I made a mistake and I really put my hand up for that. But, today we made it count.
“So, thanks so much to my guys. I’ve had an opportunity to win nearly every weekend and as a driver that’s a dream.
“I’ve had some really good luck and I’m sure some bad luck and bad weekends are coming our way, but until then I’m enjoying the ride – it’s been amazing.”
The unique Berlin Tempelhof Circuit threw up a second intensely tactical race in as many days, brimming with overtakes – 172 in total, making for 362 over the weekend – and featuring another strategic masterclass from the race winner; this time, Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy. The Kiwi started eighth and hit the front on Lap 25, driving supremely to stay there.
Keeping a handle on energy was again crucial at the slipstream-heavy race track, and Cassidy himself doubted whether he’d be able to match the pace of those behind for the best part of 20 laps out-front. However, the 28-year-old fended off pressure from a series of challengers to keep the lead.
Jake Dennis was in striking distance come the chequered flag in the Avalanche Andretti Porsche 99X Electric, just half a second back at the flag, but not close enough to topple Cassidy – who now draws to within four points of standings leader Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche). Brit Dennis will be pleased to end a four-race scoring drought, however, as he reignites his own title ambitions.
Wehrlein started sixth, in a stronger position than recent races having complained of poor one-lap pace in qualifying. He did lead a couple of times – the first on Lap 15 – but ultimately couldn’t live with the leader and found himself shuffled to seventh at the race’s end.
Jean-Eric Vergne admitted he didn’t have the pace to challenge the Jaguar-powered Envision that ultimately raced to the top step, despite also hitting the front. Nevertheless, the DS PENSKE driver will no doubt be quietly pleased to have scored strongly with third, with an eye on the long game as the season passes its half-way stage.
Round 7 winner Mitch Evans made up a spot from his grid position to come home fourth, making it a superb weekend’s work for the Kiwi and Jaguar TCS Racing, despite teammate Sam Bird getting into contact and being forced out of contention in this encounter. In fact, a Jaguar powertrain had driven to victory in three consecutive races for the very first time in Formula E, albeit in the hands of customers Envision Racing and Cassidy.
The standout drive was arguably Maximilian Guenther’s from 21st on the grid. The Maserati MSG Racing driver followed up on securing the team’s first podium in Round 7 with sixth a day later – climbing 15 positions through the pack.
Polesitter Robin Frijns in the ABT CUPRA couldn’t live with the pace of the leaders and dropped to 17th at the end, with teammate and fellow front-row starter Nico Mueller faring better with ninth on home soil to score the team’s first points in the GEN3 era.
That left Wehrlein on top of the pile but by a narrow four-point margin to Cassidy, with Vergne third. TAG Heuer Porsche’s advantage in the Teams’ table also continues to evaporate, with the Jaguar-powered Envision Racing squad now just 15 points back in second.
Next up, in a fortnight’s time, Formula E heads to Monaco for Round 9.
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