BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Maximilian Gunther won Round Two of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge on the ‘Electric Docks’ track to go 20 points clear at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.
The 22-year-old looks the dominant force in the series after winning the opening two rounds as well as the pre-season test event – this time followed by Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns in second and GEOX Dragon’s Nico Mueller in third.
Gunther took the lead on the very first chicane after pole-sitter Stoffel Vandoorne suffered his second collision in two weeks from pole to slip down the grid allowing Gunther to set off closely followed by compatriot Pascal Wehrlein.
Pole-sitter Stoffel Vandoorne clipped the first chicane to lose his place
Image credit: Getty Images
Wehrlein raised the heat on Gunther as he closed the gap to three-tenths of a second with just six laps to go but the Mahindra Racing driver threw it away by hitting the wall allowing the BMW man to romp home by seven seconds.
And the German admitted he was fortunate to escape the early ‘mess’ allowing him to claim another victory in a breakout season in Formula E where he became the series’ youngest ever race winner earlier this year.
"The first one or two [turns] were so chaotic with so much contact with pushing from the side, from behind, from everywhere,” said Gunther. “I was happy I survived it and I was really glad I was in front after three corners because it was difficult to survive the mess on the first chicane."
The story of the race was set in the opening moments as Vandoorne’s slow start allowed cars to bunch up to him causing the Belgian into a risky move which saw him damage his car and slip back into the pack.
Gunther and Wehrlein came out the most unscathed and the two young Germans soon opened a huge gap to those behind them and looked poised for a heart-stopping end to the race as Gunther began to get reeled in.
But a lapse in concentration saw Wehrlein smash into the wall to relieve the pressure on his rival while the typically competitive Formula E grid got on with the wheel-to-wheel racing further back.
Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird made his first foray into the simulation series after internet troubles scuppered Round One to complete the first 24-man grid since Formula E met at Marrakesh in February.
Daniel Abt of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Image credit: Eurosport
Bird looked to have been putting the practice in as he lifted himself up to sixth place before ensuring he became one of the many drivers pushing the cars a little too close to the limit and crashed out.
His partner Frijns showed a cool head to come home the best of the rest and insisted it was a case of practice makes perfect.
“I'm really enjoying my foray into esports and it's great to be battling up at the front of the grid,” said the Dutchman. “The team have put in a lot of work over the last few weeks to get us into this position, it's a shame Sam went off with damage so early but I'm sure he'll be back stronger next week.”
The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge returns next week for Round Three with Guenther looked to press home his advantage on the classic Monaco circuit at 15:30 on Eurosport 2.