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Cassidy goes ninth to 21st to first in frenetic, chaotic race at Berlin

Written by Vyas Ponnuri


Nick Cassidy took his second consecutive victory at the Tempelhof Circuit, having done so in the second race at the track last year, this time for the works Jaguar squad, ahead of a stoic Jean-Eric Vergne and Nissan's Oliver Rowland.


Cassidy, having started ninth, had slid down to 21st, and effectively last on the road, on lap 21, but in typical fashion, carved out a comeback drive for the ages, taking advantage of the chaos and the late race safety car, opening up a lead of over two seconds to become the second repeat winner of season ten.


Vergne once again displayed his renowned defensive skills, holding off a charging Rowland to finish runner-up, ahead of the Nissan racer, who had made up a whopping 12 places to finish on the podium.


Cassidy's teammate Evans came home fourth, having taken an attack mode late in the race, and found himself in a mid-pack squabble towards the end of the race. Pascal Wehrlein came home fifth in his home race, as he relinquished the championship lead to Cassidy. His teammate Antonio Felix Da Costa followed in sixth, while Stoffel Vandoorne came home seventh, having started on the front row.


Pole-sitter Edoardo Mortara finished eighth, grabbing his first top ten finish of the season, and taking home four valuable points to add to the three he'd earned earlier in the day, for his pole position.


Rowland's teammate Sacha Fenestraz made up seven places to finish ninth, while Taylor Barnard, stepping in for the injured Sam Bird, took home the final point for NEOM McLaren, staying out of chaos and driving a quiet race to net a point.


All in all, a truly chaotic race, exacerbated by the proximity to the walls around a street circuit, had finally come to a close, and here's how it unfolded.


AS IT UNFOLDED

An exciting qualifying session earlier on Saturday saw Edoardo Mortara grab pole position, his — and Mahindra's first points of the season too, from Vandoorne, and Vergne lined up third on the grid.


With a new track layout, and a wide first corner, it was certainly going to be a start not to be missed. Would we get an eighth different winner of the season? Only time would be able to tell.


Pole-sitter Mortara would have wished for a clean start off the five red lights, and he got just that. Moving over to the left to cover off Vandoorne, the Swiss driver managed to retain his lead, while Vergne and Sergio Sette Camara jostled for third behind.


Mortara was also the first driver to take attack mode on lap three, the first in a shortened six minutes of attack mode for the weekend, with concerns over the battery performance of the state-of-the-art Gen3 Formula E cars.


The two DS Penske cars squabbled for the lead of the race, as others ahead dived into attack mode, before Vergne himself took his first dose of attack mode on lap six. He would be followed by Vandoorne, as the DS Penske duo had jumped race leader Mortara.


Plenty more racing ensued, as drivers were averse to being at the head of the field, and preferred to sit in each other's slipstream to save energy.


A full-course-yellow was called out on lap 11 for the stranded Envision Racing car of Joel Eriksson, who experienced an unhappy return to Formula E. With the stricken green Envision on a dangerous part of the racetrack, at turn four, this was upgraded to a safety car.


After a quarter of the race, the biggest movers were the Nissan duo of Oliver Rowland and Sacha Fenestraz, the former having moved up six positions to sit ninth, despite running with a damaged front wing.


On the other hand, two championship contenders, Nick Cassidy and Jake Dennis were languishing at the rear of the grid, with plenty to do if they were to limit the damage to championship leader Wehrlein, who sat third.


With the timing of the full course yellow catching out drivers by surprise, and seeing some jump ahead of their rivals, race directors ordered them to relinquish positions and return to their correct position. This included Wehrlein getting ahead of Vandoorne, putting him into a strong position for the restart, on lap 17.


Amid a busy restart, Mortara had jumped up into fourth, even attacking for the lead at one point, before Wehrlein snatched back the lead, and chose the moment to take his final attack mode, rejoining fifth.


Di Grassi's race would come to an end at turn seven, as he would get clouted by Dan Ticktum on lap 20. With his steering not pointing the right way, the ABT Cupra driver was out of the race, as he pulled into the pits to become the race's second retirement.


Norman Nato's day went from bad to worse, the Frenchman suffering a puncture, and dropping down to the rear of the field, on lap 25.


The action wouldn't cool down, as Gunther hit the wall out of turn 11, having made contact with NEOM McLaren's Jake Hughes, and Mortara, making contact with the wall and coming to a halt, out of his home race. The safety car was called out to bring a halt to the frenetic action, as Kelvin van der Linde damaged his front wing, and had to pit for repairs.


With everyone catching a breath before the final run to the flag, the biggest gainer was Gunther's teammate Jehan Daruvala. The Indian had made it to the duels, before being demoted to the rear of the grid, carrying two 20-place grid penalties for changing the rear gearbox on his Maserati before the race.


Nearly a lap down initially, as his penalty was converted into a time penalty to be served on the first lap, he sat 11th, and in the running for points. With the frantic racing action all along, he would definitely be in the running for points.


The safety car returned to the pits at the end of lap 34, and the grid got going once again, albeit four wide into turns six and seven, the biggest beneficiary being Da Costa, who snatched the race lead.


A massive lock-up into turn four from Dennis saw him stationary for a bit, as he struggled to turn the car, causing drivers to go into him. The Andretti racer dropped down the order, as he pulled into the pits, his race effectively done.


Due to the two lengthy safety car interventions, race control announced their decision to add six more laps to the total race distance, guaranteeing more racing action until the chequered flag.


Daruvala's excellent drive came undone on lap 41, as he clattered into Mortara at turn nine, damaging his Maserati, and forced to return to the pits for repairs. His chance of points had evaporated in the heat of Berlin, amounting to nothing, as he would eventually end the race a lap down.


On a day when the peloton style of racing reigned supreme, Cassidy had shot into a lead of 2.3 seconds onto the 46th, and final tour of the track. He controlled the race, managing his pace on the last lap, even doubling his lead, to cap off a stellar drive, and wrestle back the championship lead he held for most of the year. His victory also helped Jaguar also strengthen their stranglehold on the constructors' championship.


He would also take home the fastest lap point, setting a 1:03.355, taking the point from Nato who wasn't eligible for the point as he finished outside the top ten.


Here's the final classification from the first race of the weekend:

  1. Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing)

  2. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) - +4.651s

  3. Oliver Rowland (Nissan Formula E Team) - +4.915s

  4. Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) - +5.340s

  5. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) - +5.631s

  6. Antonio Felix Da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche) - +5.760s

  7. Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske) - +6.363s

  8. Edoardo Mortara (Mahindra Racing) - +7.221s

  9. Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan Formula E Team) - +9.592s

  10. Taylor Barnard (NEOM McLaren) - +9.644s



Drivers' standings:

  1. Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing) - 121 points

  2. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) - 112 points

  3. Oliver Rowland (Nissan Formula E Team) - 103 points

  4. Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E Team) - 89 points

  5. Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) - 89 points


Constructors' standings:

  1. Jaguar TCS Racing - 210 points

  2. TAG Heuer Porsche - 146 points

  3. Nissan Formula E Team - 129 points

  4. DS Penske - 126 points

  5. Andretti Formula E Team - 113 points



That's it from a chaotic, frenetic, frantic, anything you wish to call it, round nine, then! Some may have been distraught, while others ecstatic, and they will return to the racetrack tomorrow and do it all over again, for round ten of the 2024 Formula E season. Do make sure to tune in for the live action. Until then, goodbye!


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