Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis expressed his relief at securing a podium following a dominant Mercedes performance at the opening race of Season 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Formula E’s largest season, featuring 16 races in 12 of the world’s most iconic cities, began with the first of a night-race double-header at the 2022 Diriyah E-Prix.
Mercedes continued their motorsport dominance by taking a one-two finish, with last season’s champion Nyck de Vries taking victory and Julius Baer Pole setter Stoffel Vandoorne finishing second.
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Dennis, who has been tipped by many to become the first British winner of the World Championship, started in P2 and fought hard to claim third place and his third podium finish in Formula E, and the 26-year-old was visibly ecstatic at the result.
He said: "I felt quite comfortable behind the Mercedes, I think we were on the same strategy, things were looking quite good, but when the top four breakaway it isn't the best being in third as it allows the car behind to have free attack zones.
“It was always going to be difficult, starting on the inside, I had a feeling Nyck would pass us off the line, as ended up happening. Andre (Lotterer) undercutting us ruined our race a bit, but I wanted a podium so bad today – we deserved it as a team.
“We tried it the first time, completely got it wrong, but the second time I learned from my mistakes and put it right, got the overtake done and then we pulled clear and tried to close down the Mercedes, but they were a little too quick in the end. We had a great race."
De Vries sealed his first victory in Formula E in Diriyah last year and took advantage of an uncharacteristic Vandoorne slip-up to double up, with the Belgian missing his second jump through the ATTACK MODE activation loop. The pair were dominant from there, winding up eight seconds clear of Dennis.
Jaguar TCS Racing's Sam Bird crossed the line a fighting fourth, with Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche) looking strong early on – particularly in a feisty duel with Dennis – but eventually slipped down from a provisional podium position as his usable energy became ever more marginal as the race drew on.
Lucas di Grassi finished fifth on debut for ROKiT Venturi Racing just ahead of teammate Edoardo Mortara and Nick Cassidy – the Envision Racing man also taking the point for TAG Heuer Fastest Lap.
DS TECHEETAH's Jean-Eric Vergne followed in eighth, pipping rookie Oliver Askew who'll be happy with his first effort in the series and points on the board. Jaguar's Mitch Evans rounded out the points-paying positions.
De Vries leads the way in the Drivers' World Championship ahead of Vandoorne, with Mercedes-EQ comfortably ahead in the Teams' Championship.
Catch the second race of the double-header live on Saturday, January 29 at 17:00 GMT on Eurosport 2.
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