FE, Puebla, Race 2: Mortara holds his nerve to vault into championship lead

A determined performance in the second Puebla E-Prix

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By Olivier Ferret

21 June 2021 - 01:17
FE, Puebla, Race 2: Mortara holds (...)

Edoardo Mortara fought his way to both his and ROKiT Venturi Racing’s second ABB FIA Formula E World Championship triumph around Mexico’s Autódromo Miguel E. Abed today (20 June), in so doing launching himself into a commanding ten-point lead in the title standings.

From third on the grid at the start of the race, Mortara out-braked front row starter Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) around the outside of Turn One to immediately move up to second behind pole-sitter Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams).

The Swiss star hit the front when Rowland deployed his first Attack Mode, and whilst he would surrender the top spot in doing likewise not long after – elevating Wehrlein to the lead – he reclaimed it when the German took his first Attack Mode and Rowland followed the Porsche into the activation zone to trigger his second.

Thereafter, the ROKiT man was able to pull away sufficiently to rejoin comfortably ahead after taking his own second Attack Mode just under 20 minutes in, but his advantage would come under threat when Wehrlein exploited a mistake by Rowland – with the Nissan e.dams car glancing the wall – to move up to second.

With the bit between his teeth, Wehrlein wasted no time at all in closing down the gap to the race leader. Looking to have the better pace of the two, the Porsche driver was continuing to apply the pressure when he also made an error, sliding wide to gift his rival some welcome breathing space.

With Wehrlein’s charge halted, Mortara – who has finished inside the points in every Formula E race he has contested in Mexico – went on to take the chequered flag 2.3 seconds to the good, becoming the weekend’s only double podium-visitor as he vaulted to the summit of the championship table.

Wehrlein followed Mortara home in second, but was subsequently penalised for an improper use of fan boost, relegating the Porsche driver to fourth. That promoted rookie Nick Cassidy – the architect of a superb performance – to the runner-up spoils. From eighth on the grid, the Envision Virgin Racing ace rolled the dice with his strategy – and his risk paid off handsomely as he grabbed his maiden podium in the all-electric single-seater series.

Leaving his Attack Modes late, Cassidy leapfrogged the tussling trio of Jean-Éric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH), Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) and Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing) for fourth and had the speed to stay there. After narrowing the deficit to Rowland, the New Zealander then pounced upon another twitch for the Nissan e.dams car to pinch third spot around the outside of Turn 14 – which became second with Wehrlein’s penalty.

Rowland ended up third after finding himself unable to convert his pole position into a second Formula E career victory, with Dennis and Lynn ultimately placing fifth and sixth, both benefitting from a late spin for Vergne that eventually dropped the Frenchman to eighth behind a hard-charging Maximilian Günther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) in seventh.

Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans and René Rast (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) completed the top ten scorers. Rast demoted Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns – who had begun the race leading the championship – on the final tour having started at the very back of the grid. The German posted the E-Prix’s fastest lap along the way.

Rast’s team-mate – Saturday winner Lucas Di Grassi – could manage no better than 18th today, being handed a drive-through penalty for causing a collision that eliminated early-season championship leader Nyck De Vries (Mercedes EQ).

Defending title-holder António Félix da Costa was similarly in the wars, with the DS TECHEETAH hitting the wall at Turn Seven in the closing stages.

The 2020/21 Formula E campaign will continue with another North American double-header in New York on 10/11 July.

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