Guenther emerges from chaos to take second Formula E win

Formula E

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Max Guenther scored a home victory for himself and BMW at the third of Formula E’s six races at Berlin’s Tempelhof course after a close battle with Robin Frijns.

Meanwhile Antonio Felix da Costa further extended his championship lead with a fourth place finish.

Da Costa’s Techeetah team mate Jean-Eric Vergne started from the front after a formidable lap put him half a second clear in the shoot-out. Vergne, frustrated after the first two Tempelhof races saw Da Costa pull out an impressive championship lead, started well and looked set to pull clear.

However a series of Safety Car periods neutralised his lead. A bizarre, low-speed collision created chaos. Dragon’s Sergio Sette Camara (substituting for Brendon Hartley) collided with the luckless James Calado, sending him into a spin. That in turn brought Sette Camara and Neel Jani (whose point-less run in Formula E seems set to continue) together and took both out of the race with badly damaged cars unable to continue.

Marshals then seemed to struggle to remove the cars on an awkwardly tight area of the track, and with cars still circulating behind the Safety Car it made for an extremely drawn out clear-up operation.

As per Formula E’s rule that 1kWh is removed from remaining usable energy on restart, drivers were reduced by 9kWh by the time racing returned. With so much saved, that still meant that racing could return at a relative sprint pace. Some particularly frantic action saw Stoffel Vandoorne, who had been on a good run and went into this race joint-second in the standings with Lucas di Grassi, sustain a puncture and retire.

The pack then stayed pretty much completely together, with cars tangling and Vergne unable to draw out any significant gains. Guenther, who had started in second and held on to his position, was able to stick to Vergne, harassing the Techeetah using the Attack Mode.

Vergne said after the race that his regeneration paddle seemed to stop working while he was in Attack Mode, leaving him struggling for energy compared to Guenther and unable to hold onto the lead, even after regaining it following his activation. With eight and a half minutes to go he was on 25%, while Guenther, inches behind him, was on 28% and eventually found a way past.

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Frijns, who had hung behind the leaders most of the race, was able to use an energy advantage for a last-gasp surge and pressed forwards to overtake Vergne and then nearly bag Guenther on the last corner, resulting in a drag race to the line.

Further back, Mitch Evans and Alex Sims finished ninth and tenth respectively, taking their first points of the Berlin finale. It might be very little comfort, having arrived at Tempelhof as close contenders to Da Costa and now on less than half his points total.

Da Costa now leads the championship on 137 points, to Guenther on 69. With 90 points still available in the remaining Berlin races, it seems unlikely that another driver will catch him the championship, unless tomorrow’s race brings a shock development.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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7 comments on “Guenther emerges from chaos to take second Formula E win”

  1. It was a very good race, I’m very happy for Gunther. It’s nice to see F2 guys doing well. DeVries is also doing well and Sette Camara really raised his level in this weekend starting from P12 very far ahead his teammate. It’s a shame that he can’t finish the race, it was a very common mistake for rookies in FE, where cars are a lot closer than in F2 or others single seaters.

  2. It shows how much Formula e has changed that Frijns finished with 0.3% energy remaining, and my first thought was that he could have got Gunther with that 0.3 %. At the beginning of Formula e, they were finishing with 5% or more.

    1. actually 0.3% is not incredible nowadays. Last race, Da Costa won by crossing the line with 0.0%, and many of them did manage the energy perfectly with just about empty or ~0.1% when crossing the line.

  3. “As per Formula E’s rule that 1kWh is removed from remaining usable energy on restart, drivers were reduced by 9kWh by the time racing returned.”
    What is the point of that rule?

    1. I think it’s so drivers who spent the first half of the race energy saving don’t have their strategy ruined by a safety car. @paeschli

    2. The drivers themselves had asked for it since any energy saved during the safety car meant they could drive flat out till the end of the race, thereby killing all the on-track action otherwise brought about by energy saving.

  4. This was a great race. Amazed from how far back Frijns managed to come to fight for the lead. I have always been surprised he never made it into F1.

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