Jaguar TCS Racing ace maintains perfect podium record in Season 10 by speeding to victory in his 50th E-Prix.
Nick Cassidy stormed into the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship lead as he tallied his sixth career triumph in the all-electric single-seater series courtesy of a superb strategic drive for Jaguar TCS Racing in Saudi Arabia today (27 January).
Like yesterday’s winner Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E), Cassidy began the Diriyah E-Prix from third on the grid – and also like Dennis, he did not stay there for long.
When the lights went out to signal the start of the 36-lap contest, a sluggish getaway by pole-sitter Oliver Rowland prompted a three-way fight for the lead into the first corner, with Robin Frijns pulling to the right of the Nissan Formula E Team car and Cassidy drawing alongside on the left.
It was Frijns – flying solo for Envision Racing in the wake of team-mate Sébastien Buemi’s qualifying accident – who emerged ahead but by the end of lap six, Cassidy was in control, after his two chief rivals both elected to take an early first Attack Mode.
Released from the slipstream, the New Zealander focused on getting the hammer down, and when he activated Attack Mode himself next time around, Frijns followed suit to deploy his second, preserving Cassidy’s advantage. Continuing to push, when the 29-year-old triggered his own second Attack Mode six laps later, he had sufficient margin to rejoin in front.
Having gained track position, Cassidy thereafter spent much of the mid-portion of the race managing his energy consumption, bringing Frijns, Rowland and a number of other drivers back into play. In the closing stages, the top ten cars were all running nose-to-tail, but the Auckland native had done enough to protect his position as his third consecutive podium finish in Season 10 catapulted him solidly into the championship lead, with fastest lap capping a perfect score.
Following his stellar start from the dirty side of the grid, Frijns remained a factor throughout. The Dutchman deservedly returned to the rostrum for the first time in a year-and-a-half, as he bounced back from a troubled 2022-23 campaign during which he had finished no higher than ninth.
Rowland completed the podium in third, falling away from the top two for a while before coming back strongly towards the end. Like Frijns, the result represented a welcome boost for the Brit, who had departed the fray partway through a disappointing Season 9 prior to returning to his roots at Nissan.
Jake Hughes achieved a career-best finish of fourth for NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, featuring up at the sharp end race-long and benefitting from a missed Attack Mode activation by DS Penske’s Stoffel Vandoorne to gain a spot at the Belgian’s expense. The 2021/22 title-winner took the chequered flag fifth, with Sacha Fenestraz making it two Nissans inside the top six just behind.
Pascal Wehrlein – championship leader going into the E-Prix – progressed from his grid position of tenth to wind up seventh, a fraction ahead of Saturday runner-up Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Penske). Maximilian Günther took ninth for Maserati MSG Racing, with Mitch Evans snatching the final point on offer for tenth after defending champion Dennis was handed a five-second penalty for overtaking under yellow flags, dropping the Briton to 12th.
The 2023/24 Formula E campaign will resume in São Paulo, Brazil on 16 March.
NICK CASSIDY, No. 37, Jaguar TCS Racing, said:
“This is awesome I mean it’s such a dream. I’ve got an amazing car and I’m so privileged but this here… I mean – I want it that way.
“Every win is special, it’s just been a dream start. I’m waiting for a bad day, it’s gonna come but for now we ride, we ride.
“I took advantage at the start – I initially thought I went too hard at the start – but, you know, Jaguar TCS Racing gave me an amazing car and I’m super lucky.”
ROBIN FRIJNS, No. 4, Envision Racing, said:
“I had a bit of trouble at the beginning of the season and had to get to know the car. Obviously, Nick has been driving the whole of last year with this car. There are still some steps to be made, but I will get there.
“I thought today was really good. I was leading at first, so I felt nice and comfortable. But then began fighting with Nick the whole way – we were pulling away constantly, and almost killing each other at times. But Nick did a very good job. I secured good points too. I’ll take another step forward for the next phase.”
OLIVER ROWLAND, No. 22, Nissan Formula E Team, said:
“I think yesterday was a bit disappointing for us, but today we regrouped and we did an excellent job this morning, we were able to get the pole. I am slightly disappointed coming third. You know, the start was a lot of wheel spinning, but we had our chance to control the race if we wanted to win. We didn’t manage to do that, but still a great result for the team. Lots of points. And we’ll take this confidence into the next one.
“I can absolutely build on this momentum going into Sao Paulo, I came back to Nissan with the target of winning. We know it’s a long road, but we’ll keep pushing and I think the first step was made today, and the potential we’ve seen over the first two races has been very good. I’m happy.”