Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein paid tribute to his ‘special’ victory in Hong Kong in round four of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF which saw the German leapfrog countryman Maximilian Guenther at the top of the standings.
Despite Edoardo Mortara springing a surprise by taking Julius Baer pole position on a circuit he won a real-life E-Prix last season, his first and only victory in the Championship, Wehrlein took his second consecutive chequered flag.
Chaos ensues as Formula E race start brings MASSIVE crash
Fellow title-chaser Stoffel Vandoorne of Mercedes-Benz EQ finished second while Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s James Calado made the most of some early chaos to climb into third-place – a position he never relinquished.
Former standings leader Guenther suffered a nightmarish day, despite qualifying in fourth, after a jump-start resulted in a drive-through penalty which pushed him down to 12th and a crash moments later ended his day pointless and eliminated via race royale.
Wehrlein was no stranger to some drama himself after the first corner saw numerous cars collide and the 25-year-old admitted the early damage to his car made the result all the sweeter.
Pascal Wehrlein takes another win in Formula E virtual racing series
“Today was a bit special because of the wet conditions in qualifying that we didn’t know about, that was unexpected for everyone,” said the 25-year-old.
“The race was a bit chaotic at the beginning, my car was actually a bit damaged, the steering was to the left, but I was fast in dry conditions as well and brought it home.”
For the third race in a row the very first corner of the race caused utter chaos as the fancied trio of Wehrlein, Vandoorne and Guenther – starting second, third and fourth behind pole-sitter Mortara – were engulfed in a concertina.
But Wehrlein and Vandoorne were able to recover and climb back up the grid and the German took the race lead when Mortara made a mistake trying to thread through the chicane - the ROKiT Venturi Racing man finishing in fifth.
The results sees Wehrlein take a six-point lead at the top ahead of Guenther and Vandoorne just seven points further back.
And Vandoorne admitted that he was fortunate to set another strong point-scoring performance following the drama on the first corner.
"It was a bit of a difficult race but the race was very entertaining,” added Vandoorne.
“I had a good start but turn one was absolute carnage - there were cars flying everywhere. I got hit quite badly and was pushed in the wall - I don't know how I got through turn one.”
Earlier in the day Lucas Mueller took his first victory of the competition having finished second and third in the past two races – the German reeling in race leader Kevin Siggy to just 15 points as the Slovenian finished third to limit the damage.
The pair will also have one eye on round one winner Joshua Rogers returning after a two-race absence who looked to be picking up where he left off until Mueller made the overtake on the penultimate lap.
The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge returns next Saturday May 23 at 15:30 on Eurosport 2 for round five of the online eight-race competition