The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returned to Saudi Arabia for the first double-header and first Asian round of the season. Jehan Daruvala would again be off the pace as he continued to learn the ropes whilst elsewhere, the Chinese outfit of ERT would have a change in their luck after a disastrous Mexico City. Asian Motorsport reviews the action from the first race of the weekend in Diriyah.

By Seb Tirado

Free Practice 1 & 2

Daruvala under the lights in FP1 | Credit: FIA Formula E

Thursday evening saw a very dusty FP1, with drivers unable to push for fast lap times for the majority of the session. In the end, it was Oliver Rowland from the Japanese outfit of Nissan who topped the timing sheets with a 1:15:400. Near the other end of the classification, Jehan Daruvala would finish 20th with a 1:17:840 in his Maserati, ahead of Nyck de Vries of his former team of Mahindra in 21st.

On Friday morning, FP2 saw many drivers and teams do simulation runs in preparation for qualifying later that day. Fastest honours would go to Norman Nato of Andretti with a 1:13:584. Jehan Daruvala would swap places in the final classification with Nyck de Vries, although still achieving a much faster time than in FP1 with a 1:14:952.

Qualifying

Sérgio Sette Câmara achieved impressive results for Chinese team ERT | Credit: FIA Formula E

Saturday afternoon would see Nick Cassidy go fastest in Group A for Jaguar TCS Racing and Jean-Éric Vergne in Group B for DS Penske. Sérgio Sette Câmara of ERT also notably came 2nd in Group B and would go on to reach the Semi-Finals and qualify 4th for the race.

Jehan Daruvala would be eliminated in Group B, finishing 11th and ultimately qualifying 21st for the race. After an enthralling Final, the first Pole Position of the weekend would end up going to Jean-Éric Vergne.

Diryah E-Prix

The 2024 Diriyah E-Prix saw mixed results for its Asian competitors | Credit: FIA Formula E

The race start saw Vergne go defensive against Evans in the first two corners, causing a concertina effect with the rest of the grid. Nevertheless, the rest of the E-Prix was mainly clean racing, with most of the race’s action coming from the Top 3 battle between Vergne, Evans and reigning World Champion Jake Dennis.

As the rest of the grid took their Attack Modes, Nick Cassidy and Sam Bird both made their way through the pack and close to the Top 3, with Cassidy strategically working with his teammate Evans to fend off the McLaren driver. However, Evans overcooked an overtake attempt for 2nd into Turn 18 on the final lap of the race, dropping to 5th and allowing Bird to finish in 4th.

Dennis would go on to win the E-Prix and achieve the Fastest Lap, with Vergne finishing over 13 seconds behind in 2nd and Cassidy once again in 3rd. Elsewhere, Sette Câmara was able to get ERT’s first points of the year by finishing 9th, making them the first Asian team to score points in 2024. Jehan Daruvala would finish 20th, but again without incident and with lessons from his first foray in Diriyah that he can take into the second race of the weekend.

FIA Formula E Drivers’ Championship top ten

  1. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) – 32
  2. Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS) – 31
  3. Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Penske) – 29
  4. Jake Dennis (Andretti) – 28
  5. Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS) – 20
  6. Sébastien Buemi (Envision) – 18
  7. Maximilian Günther (Maserati) – 18
  8. Sam Bird (NEOM McLaren) – 12
  9. Norman Nato (Andretti) – 9
  10. Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren) – 6

FIA Formula E Teams’ Championship top five

  1. Jaguar TCS Racing – 51
  2. Andretti – 37
  3. DS Penske – 33
  4. TAG Heuer Porsche – 32
  5. Envision Racing – 19

Round 3 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and the second race of the double-header gets underway later today.

Header photo credit: FIA Formula E

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