The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF’s Grand Final takes place this weekend with Pascal Wehrlein admitting he and Stoffel Vandoorne are the ‘favourites’ to battle it for the title thanks to just a single point separating them.
The eight-race online competition reaches its climax with a double-header this weekend on Saturday 6 June & Sunday 7 June live on Eurosport 2
Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Vandoorne, who has also been competing in Formula One’s sim racing series, broke his win duck after four Julius Baer Pole Positions last weekend in a timely fashion to take the lead in the standings for the first time in the competition.
Stoffel Vandoorne wins Round 6 of the ABB Formula E Race At Home Challenge
But with two wins to his name so far, along with a well recovered second-place finish in the last race after starting seventh, Mahindra Racing’s Wehrlein is snapping at his heels entering the final weekend.
But with Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland upsetting the odds to claim victory in Round Five and BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Maximilian Guenther also with two wins – but a 32-points deficit on Vandoorne - Wehrlein didn’t expect a purely two-man weekend.
“Stoffel and I are the favourites”, the 25-year-old said. “But there are still 35 points, and then with fastest lap and qualifying, it is close to 80 points available.
Between Stoffel and I the gap is only one point, but with Max I think it is 30 points, so it could be possible for him to win, and Oliver Rowland is quite close as well. I would say one of us four will win it.
Sitting atop the perch for the first time this season, Vandoorne focused on the need to limit errors to take the title.
“It will be important to stay in the fight and not make any mistakes,” added Vandoorne. “We’ve always had good pace and been fighting for victories and that’s what we have to do again this weekend.”
BMW’s Guenther looked set to run away with the online series after winning the opening two races of the competition as well as the test event but, after a number of unfortunate crashes, the 22-year-old’s luck has deserted him – a point admitted by the German.
“After a strong start into the championship, I didn’t have the luck on my side during the last weekends,” said Wehrlein. “But I will try to turn it around again in the last two races with some good results.”
“It was good fun to keep racing against all real-world driver colleagues in the past weeks and to finish the series off with a double header will be great.”
Vandoorne’s nose in front after first victory
Image credit: Eurosport
Vandoorne has made himself the slight favourite for the title after he finally secured his first victory in Round Six to open up a slender lead at the top of the driver standings.
The Belgian has been a consistent performer throughout the series and had qualified in Julius Baer Pole Position for four of the six races before finally converting his fourth pole into a race victory.
Vandoorne’s win on the New York City circuit proved to be a timely dominant performance which also gave him the all-important maximum points haul of 27 after again starting the race from pole and setting the TAG Heuer fastest lap.
These points allowed Vandoorne to move past rival Pascal Wehrlein into first place in the driver standings.
Wehrlein snapping at the heels
Wehrlein is only a point begind Vandoorne heading into the final weekend
Image credit: Eurosport
The German is just a single point behind Vandoorne and drove brilliantly to recover from a penalty forcing him to start seventh last time out to finish second and keep Vandoorne well within sight.
Wehrlein has been one of the competition’s outstanding performers so far with two victories to his name, even after being forced to miss the practice test event the week before the competition began.
And, if he can limit the penalties, he will be going into the final weekend confident of reeling in Vandoorne over two races to pip him to the crown.
Guenther fizzled out
Looking for an unlikely route to close the gap behind the two leaders will be Guenther, who has had a remarkable change in fortunes to see his hopes fade.
The young German dominated the early rounds – winning the first three races including the test event – and opened up a commanding 25-point lead after just three rounds. However, for the third weekend in a row he was left frustrated after crashing out on turn one in New York City and only recovering to 12th position.
Guenther’s pointless finish meant that he ended the day 32 points behind championship leader Vandoorne and the German will be in need of a miracle going into the Grand Final.
Two Continents, Two cities, Two circuits
The competition has recreated some of Formula E’s most iconic destinations online including bringing racing back to the streets of Hong Kong Harbour and the world-famous Monaco track.
Drivers this weekend will face off on two iconic circuits in two iconic cities across two continents, as the action returns to New York City – the location for a Formula E finale double-header the previous three seasons – on Saturday before rounding things off at the Berlin Tempelhof track on Sunday.
Slovenian Siggy has Formula E seat in his sights
Image credit: Eurosport
Sim racing expert Kevin Siggy heads into the weekend in blistering form, having secured his second successive race win last time out. The Slovenian took maximum points by starting the race on Julius Baer Pole Position and then setting the fastest lap before cruising to victory.
The comprehensive performance extended his lead at the top of the challenger grid to an unattainable 53 points to guarantee his place in pole for Sunday’s winner-takes-all race.
Sunday’s victor will win the chance to drive a Gen2 on an official ABB FIA Formula E Championship circuit when racing resumes, and the seat will be Siggy’s if he can continue to outperform the talented sim-racing and professional grid.
Round Seven and Eight of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2 this Saturday June 6th and Sunday June 7th 15:30