Porsche driver takes the first Gen3 race in Mexico
At the Mexico City E-Prix, the first race with the new third-generation electric racing cars, German carmaker Porsche made a successful start to the season: The race win went to Jake Dennis from customer team Andretti ahead of Porsche works driver Pascal Wehrlein in second place. Third place went to Lucas di Grassi for Mahindra Racing.
Di Grassi, who was the only driver to start in all 101 Formula E races to date, led the field into turn 1 from the start – the Brazilian driver had surprisingly taken pole position in qualifying for his new employer Mahindra. In the special Formula E format, in which the first eight grid positions are determined in a knockout system after a group phase, he prevailed over Jake Dennis in the final – as the latter had lost time due to a braking incident.
The race itself showed that Porsche had not only succeeded in producing a fast but also an efficient race car with the 99X Electric Gen3: Despite three safety car phases that had brought the field together again and again, Andretti driver Dennis won in the customer Porsche with a lead of almost eight seconds over the next Porsche. The positive result for Porsche and Andretti was rounded off by André Lotterer: The German, who switched from the Porsche works team to the Andretti customer team before the season, finished a strong fourth. Porsche newcomer Antonio Felix da Costa finished seventh – so all four 99X Electric Gen3s scored points at the opening race.
Not for all teams and manufacturers did the start into the Gen3 era go as smoothly as it did for the Zuffenhausen team. For the Stellantis brand DS, which has often been successful in recent years, with its new team partner Penske, world champion Stoffel Vandoorne, who switched from Formula E dropout Mercedes, was able to score just one point in tenth place. Maximilian Günther in the Maserati (with DS power) was eleventh behind, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne in the second DS-Penske. For Mahindra (including the customer team Abt-Cupra) there were no further points apart from di Grassi’s podium finish. For Nissan and the new customer team McLaren, it was enough for a fifth place thanks to Formula E debutant Jake Hughes in the McLaren – all three other cars with Nissan power came away empty-handed. Jaguar with the customer team Envision Virgin had three cars finish in the points (Mitch Evans in the factory team in 8th place, Sebastien Buemi and Nick Cassidy in the customer team in 6th and 9th place).
With four retirements among 22 starting cars, the chaos feared by some observers did not occur in Mexico City. In the run-up to the season, there had been some problems with the new unit components of the new Gen3 racing cars, which is why many teams were not able to reel off the planned tests on race tracks and test rigs – and thus did not have to start the season with the best possible preparation.
In the drivers’ championship, unsurprisingly, race winner Dennis leads with 26 points (25 points for the race win, one extra point for the fastest race lap) ahead of Wehrlein and di Grassi, who both have 18 points (in di Grassi’s case 15 points for third place and three points for pole position). Among the teams, Porsche customer team Andretti leads with 38 points ahead of the Porsche works team with 24 points and Mahindra (18 points).
Formula E continues on 27 and 28 January with a double race in Diriyah (Saudi Arabia).
porsche.com, fiaformulae.com (race results), fiaformulae.com (championship)
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