Maserati driver Günther wins Formula E’s premiere in Tokyo

Maximilian Günther has won the first Formula E race in Tokyo. The German Maserati driver won the E-Prix premiere in the Japanese capital ahead of the British drivers Oliver Rowland (Nissan) and Jake Dennis (Andretti). A second German driver also has reason to celebrate.

Image: Formula E

In the qualifying round, experienced Formula E driver Günther paved the way for his subsequent victory on the streets of Tokyo. In the special format, the German driver qualified for the knockout duels in the group stage and fought his way through to the final with two victories. There, he was narrowly defeated by Nissan driver Oliver Rowland – meaning that a race car with a Japanese electric drive was in first place on the grid for the premiere of the E-Prix in the Japanese capital. A look at the winner of the previous race in Sao Paulo, Sam Bird, in the McLaren-Nissan, shows just how close things are in Formula E: after a small driving error on his fast lap, Bird only finished 22nd and, therefore, last on the grid.

A different course was expected for the race itself than in Brazil: as energy consumption was quite high on the track in Sao Paulo with its long straights, energy-saving slipstreaming played an important role. However, the track through Tokyo was much narrower and more winding, which is why fuel consumption was not as decisive for the course of the race.

Instead of countless position changes – no driver wants to lead the race and slipstream other cars to save energy – Nissan driver Rowland took the lead at the start and led the race ahead of Günther. The latter stayed behind the Englishman for most of the race until he made the decisive overtaking manoeuvre. Once in the lead, Günther was even able to pull out a small lead and then maintain it until the end of the race – crossing the finish line in first place with a charge of 0.0 per cent. Rowland took second place, while third place went to world champion Jake Dennis in the Andretti Porsche. He had started from fifth place, just ahead of the two works Porsches driven by Felix Antonio da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein.

And fifth place was enough for Wehrlein to take the lead in the drivers’ world championship. With ten points from Tokyo, the German Porsche driver now has 63 points. His main rival for the title, Nick Cassidy in the works Jaguar, fought his way up from 19th on the grid to eighth (he finished ninth but benefited from the disqualification of Edoardo Mortara in the Mahindra). Cassidy is second in the championship with 61 points, ahead of Nissan driver Oliver Rowland, who moved up to third place with his third podium finish in a row. After a somewhat weaker start to the season with 7th and two 9th places, Tokyo winner Günther has also made a big leap forward to 5th place with 48 points. Günther is, therefore, currently the best Stellantis driver in the championship.

While Nissan has recently been able to shine with the Rowland podium finishes and the race win by the McLaren customer team in Brazil, Jaguar remains at the top of the team standings after the fifth round of the season. Jaguar has an even 100 points, followed by the Porsche works team with 83 points and the Porsche customer team Andretti with 70 points. They are followed by Nissan (62 points), DS Penske (57 points) and McLaren (55 points).

Races 6 and 7 of the season are scheduled for 13 and 14 April in Misano, Italy. The permanent race track on the Adriatic coast replaces the traditional double-header in the capital city of Rome. The very narrow race track through Rome’s business district has become too unsafe for Formula E and the FIA with the new and faster Gen3 racing cars, as the 2023 pile-up also showed. (race report), (race result), (driver standings), (team standings)


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