Returns were a central theme of this weekend’s Formula E double-header in Diriyah
Under the lights in Saudi Arabia, rounds 2 and 3 of this year’s Formula E World Championship saw some shocks, stirring performances and familiar faces back towards the front.
1. JEV’s record-equalling pole
Two-time Formula E World Champion Jean-Eric Vergne returned to the front of the grid in Saudi Arabia. The Frenchmen earned his first pole position since Jakarta 2022, equalling the all-time FE pole record set by Sebastien Buemi. After a difficult few years, the Friday race was a welcome boost for JEV, finishing 2nd in the race, with the DS Penske team setting a good pace over the whole weekend.
2. A statement from the reigning Formula E champion
Andretti’s Jake Dennis had mixed fortunes over the weekend, but it began brilliantly with a barnstorming victory. After starting in 3rd place, Dennis had a poor start which saw him drop back before recovering superbly, winning by over 13 seconds from JEV.
A difficult qualifying on Saturday would see the Englishman down in 15th and furious with the performance of his car, but a spirited drive on the tight Diriyah circuit would see Dennis channelling his anger well to finish 10th, setting the fastest lap in the process.
BACK ON THE TOP STEP 🥇
— Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 26, 2024
3. Rowland’s return
FE veteran and fellow Englishman Oliver Rowland caused another qualifying surprise with pole on Saturday. Sadly for the Nissan man, he would lose the lead at the start, dropping behind Envision’s Robin Frijns, eventually finishing a more-than-creditable 3rd, frustrated by a late team order to not take any risks and hold his podium place.
4. Cassidy’s return to the top leaves Jaguar purring
Kiwi Nick Cassidy took his first win of the Formula E season, showing that Jaguar look set to be in the thick of the action at the front this year. In what was Cassidy’s third race for the team, his use of Attack Mode would see him gain the jump on Rowland and eventually Frijns, holding onto the lead to firmly stamp his intent on the Championship once again.
NICK CASSIDY WINS IN DIRIYAH! 🇸🇦
— Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 27, 2024
5. Further promise for Maserati
Despite the resignation of Team Principal James Rossiter within the close-season, the Monaco-based team have made a strong start, with Maximilian Gunther starting 5th and finishing 4th in Mexico. And Diriyah showed even more promise, with Indian Jehan Daruvala – in his first Formula E season – qualifying 5th ahead of race 2. Unfortunately for Daruvala, his race would end with a technical issue, but Gunther would score another strong result with 9th.