top of page

Cool and Calm Cassidy Aces the Diriyah Test to win from Frijns and Rowland

Updated: Jan 28

Written by Vyas Ponnuri

Nick Cassidy drove a stellar race to convert third on the grid into race victory, holding off Envision Racing's Robin Frijns and Nissan's Oliver Rowland to take the spoils in Diriyah.

Pole-sitter Rowland couldn't match the pace of the leading duo, settling for third, ahead of Jake Hughes, who narrowly missed out on a maiden Formula E podium too.

Stoffel Vandoorne took a strong fifth for DS Penske, followed by the other Nissan of Sacha Fenestraz, who rounded out a brilliant day for the Japanese manufacturer.

Pascal Wehrlein was left to salvage a result once again, coming through the field to secure seventh at the flag, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and Max Gunther.

What a difference 24 hours made! Round two winner Jake Dennis was another driver left to limit the damage to his rivals, taking the final point on offer, along with the bonus point for the fastest lap, setting a 1:10.296 in the process. However, his joy was short-lived, after he was slapped a five-second penalty for overtaking Mitch Evans under yellow flags late in the race, dropping Dennis out of the points

Evans took the final point on offer, while teammate Cassidy took home the fastest lap point, underlining his dominant showing once again.


Pole-sitter Rowland struggled off the five red lights, with second-placed Frijns shooting into the lead even before the drivers hit the brakes into turn 18. Cassidy attempted to make it three-abreast in his Jaguar, but bailed out.

Elsewhere, a sedate start, and a wide moment into turn 21 for Daruvala allowed Hughes past, into fifth. Dan Ticktum's season went from bad to even worse, an immediate front wing change after contact at the tail end of the field.

Vandoorne was the first to dive in for a dose of extra power, taking two minutes of attack mode on lap three. He was immediately followed by Rowland.

Frijns dived in for attack mode on lap six, crucially rejoining ahead of Rowland in third. Cassidy put the hammer down, as he attempted to sneak into the lead. As was the case in round two, the race leaders dived in for attack mode early, with Rowland exhausting his remaining quota of six minutes.

The Jaguar racer had extended the gap to Frijns before the duo took their attack modes — Frijns taking his final attack mode. Sam Bird moved up to ninth on lap nine, overtaking the ERT driver Sergio Sette Camara ahead, into turn 18.

An optimum strategy for Cassidy was to push hard, and he did just that, setting the quickest first sector on lap 13, extending the gap to 2.6 seconds, before taking his final attack mode for the race, rejoining just over a second ahead, just as Frijns was warned of overconsuming energy.

Meanwhile, Sette Camara was quickly shuffled down to 14th, overtaken by Evans in the Jaguar, putting him off line all the way down to the finish line, with Dennis making an ambitious overtake into turn 21. The ERT racer held off the ABT Cupra of Nico Mueller into turn one, maintaining his 14th position.

Halfway through the race, Frijns had closed up to Cassidy, despite consuming more energy than the former Envision Racing driver ahead. Sitting in the slipstream of the Jaguar ahead, Frijns was looking to conserve energy, and make up the deficit.

Bird's attempts to pass Fenestraz on lap 21 saw him end up on the dusty part of the track, and being off line, with less grip, championship-leader Wehrlein took his opportunity, moving up into seventh on the road.

The McLaren driver's day went from bad to even worse, as he was forced to retire only a lap later, due to the ensuing damage on the right-hand side of the papaya car.

Wehrlein, meanwhile, attacked seventh-placed Vergne only a lap later, and as the crossed the finish line to start another lap, made yet another opportunistic move on the DS Penske ahead, up into seventh, continuing his stellar recovery drive.

It would be a race to forget for Jehan Daruvala, a nasty lock-up on lap 27 prompting a trip into the run-off, as he dropped down the order, bringing out a yellow flag at the main overtaking zone of the track, turn 18. The Maserati driver came into the pits for a change of front wing, dropping to dead last on the road.

The final third of the race was setting up to be an exciting finish, with the top ten eventually separated by only a few seconds. Overconsuming energy would see you fall foul at the end of the race, and drivers held positions for the time being, setting up for a big finish.

Heading into the last three laps, the top ten continued to remain nose-to-tail, separated by only five seconds, with round two winner Jake Dennis tailing this Formula E train.

However, none of the drivers were intent on making any overtakes into the final tours of the race, and the day belonged to Nick Cassidy, who kept his cool to ease home to victory. Frijns followed the Jaguar home, taking his first podium since the 2022 New York E Prix — Cassidy coincidentally being the winner on the day.

He finished ahead of Rowland, the Briton taking his first podium since the 2022 Seoul E Prix.

A superb showing from the Kiwi saw him take the championship lead too, pulling out a sizeable margin of 19 points to Wehrlein, while Vergne and Dennis maintained their positions in the standings, on 33 and 28 points respectively.

Jaguar extended their lead in the constructors' standings, moving to 78 points, 31 points ahead of DS Penske, with Andretti trailing the team in black and gold by nine points, level on points with powertrain manufacturers Porsche, as well as Envision Racing.

All in all, the Diriyah double-header played host to two great races, and gave many drivers plenty of reasons to smile about, while some would be left to play catch up, with most of the season still to follow.

However, the drivers and teams head off on a seven-week break now, with the Sao Paulo E Prix the next instalment on the Formula E calendar, slated for 16th March, 2024. Until then, it's goodbye!

UPDATE: Jake Dennis received a five-second penalty post-race for passing Mitch Evans under yellow flags, late in the race, demoting him to 12th on the road. Mitch Evans and Edoardo Mortara were promoted one spot each, while Cassidy was awarded the fastest lap.


bottom of page