Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein says he expects a three-horse race for the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge following his ‘grand slam’ victory in round three as the series enters the half-way point this Saturday.
The German ramped up the pressure on his countryman, BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver Maximilian Guenther, as he dominated by taking Julius Baer pole position, setting the TAG Heuer fastest lap and completing a comprehensive lights-to-flag victory on the famous Monaco streets.
Wehrlein went into the race frustrated after an error in the previous round had cost him when chasing down points leader Guenther, but Saturday’s victory saw him slash the BMW man’s lead at the top of the standings to 20 points.
Just four points further back sits Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne – who qualified in pole in the first two races and came second in Monaco – tied with Envision Virgin Racing’s Robing Frijns.
But Frijns himself admitted the title is likely to go to one of Guenther, Vandoorne and Wehrlein who insisted he was brimming with confidence ahead of round four and feeling optimistic about the ngoing rivalry.
“It was definitely a great Saturday for me. I had pole position, I had fastest lap and the race win. So, it was a grand slam,” said Wehrlein, who will be competing again live on Eurosport 2 this Saturday at 3.30pm BST.
“I would say, looking at the first couple of races, that it’s Stoffel, Max and myself – it seems like we have a small advantage compared to the other drivers.
“But it’s very close and they are getting closer. I really expect a few more drivers in the mix in the next few races, but Max and Stoffel are especially competitive”.
Saturday’s return – on a track still to be announced by Formula E – will be preceded by the ‘Challenge Grid’ race, where some of the best sim racers on the planet will show their skills against the professionals such as Sophia Floersch, Simona de Silvestro and Charlie Martin.
With a real-life drive in a Formula E car during a race weekend up for grabs, Wehrlein was equally optimistic about the future opportunities for sim racers within motorsport.
“I think it’s important. Because I can see that karting is getting really, really expensive,” he added.
“Obviously, sim racing is a good opportunity and a cheaper one. You don’t have the same feeling and you don’t have g-force, but you still need to turn a wheel; you still have the pedals and you still need to try to go as fast as possible with certain tricks you can develop in the simulator.
“I think in the future we will see some drivers with sim backgrounds in racing as well.”
The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF (Rd 4) will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2 from 3.30pm BST this Saturday, 16th May.