Lucas di Grassi has taken his and Audi’s first win for two years at Formula E’s first Puebla race, following Pascal Wehrlein’s disqualification.Jean-Eric Vergne on row two.
Rowland had radio problems on the grid, which his Nissan e.Dams team were unable to repair, meaning he was left with no communication during the race. Whether that contributed to his poor start or not, he seemed unable to get away as the lights went out and slipped down to 14th within the first few corners of the race.
The racing was neutralised before the end of the first lap, as Nick Cassidy’s day ended early, his car in the wall and a Safety Car period necessary to retrieve it. Alex Lynn was forced to pit behind the Safety Car, having sustained a puncture on debris from Cassidy’s car but had only lost two places by the time racing restarted with 37 minutes remaining.
Wehrlein took Attack Mode on the restart and was able to rejoin just ahead of Vergne, behind the BMWi Andretti cars of Maximilian Günther and Jake Dennis. Attack Mode allowed Wehrlein to pass Dennis easily and he retook the lead when Günther went for the zone.
Di Grassi, who started eighth after one of his better qualifying performances this season, was up to fifth with 30 minutes remaining on the clock. Also on the move, the Jaguar duo of Sam Bird and Mitch Evans – who who severely compromised in a messy group one qualifying stage – had moved up to seventh and eighth from starting positions of 12th and 18th.
It looked set to be a great recovery for Jaguar, with title rivals Mercedes – also caught in the group one fiasco – outside the points. However, two strange incidents involving the Mahindra drivers changed the course of the race. First Vergne, making his way out of the Attack Mode zone, collided with Alexander Sims, wrecking his front wing and breaking the front suspension on his DS Techeetah on the side of Sims’ car.
Then Alex Lynn and Sam Bird collided in almost the same place, just out of turn eight. Bird was taken out of the race and a Safety Car was called, with disastrous timing for Jaguar’s other driver. Dennis and Evans both had their second Attack Mode period still to take, which cannot be done under caution.
The Safety Car came in with 13 minutes remaining in the race, at which point the BMW drivers began to struggle for pace. Both Günther and Dennis slipped backwards severely, as the Audi pair of di Grassi and René Rast made a charge to the front.
Wehrlein continued to exhibit excellent racecraf, confidently holding the lead to the chequered flag. However, with nine minutes to go both Porsche and Nissan e.Dams’ cars were revealed to be under investigation for technical infringements. Wehrlein was disqualified as he crossed the finish line, as it transpired his team had failed to declare which tyres had been used by their cars during the race.
Di Grassi, who has languished at the bottom of the championship this year, was promoted to the win and Rast completed a one-two finish for Audi, with Mortara taking Venturi’s second podium of the year in third.
Stoffel Vandoorne finished ahead of Evans and both Mercedes drivers finishing in the points, to narrowly extend their championship lead in both the constructors and drivers’ titles. The series remains in Mexico for a second race on Sunday.
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|1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi|
|5||Jake Dennis||BMW Andretti|
|6||Antonio Felix da Costa||DS Techeetah|
|9||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes|
|11||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333|
|12||Maximilian Günther||BMW Andretti|
|13||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333|
|15||Sergio Sette Camara||Dragon Penske|
|17||Joel Eriksson||Dragon Penske|
|DNF||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Techeetah|
|DSQ||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams|
|DSQ||Sebastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams|
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