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Da Costa aces Misano peloton test to win from Rowland and Dennis

Written by Vyas Ponnuri


Antonio Felix Da Costa aced the energy test in the first race of the Misano double-header, clipping onto race leader Oliver Rowland's coattails before making the decisive overtake late in the race, to snatch victory here in the Italian double-header of season ten, taking his first victory since the Cape Town E Prix in season nine.


Having experienced an up-and-down season so far, in the words of Da Costa himself, this was the highest of moments for the Portuguese driver, who made it six different winners in six races in the 2024 Formula E season.


He would be trailed by Rowland in the Nissan, who continued his rich vein of form by grabbing a fourth successive podium, and even appearing on course for a race win at one point, before having ceded position to the Porsche driver towards the end of the race. Rowland snatched the fastest lap on the final tour, setting a 1:19.730 as he chased Da Costa for victory.


The man from Barnsley found himself in the lead of the championship, despite not being among the six different race winners in 2024, reflecting the relentless consistency the Nissan racer has experienced recently.


A time penalty for Jean-Eric Vergne promoted Jake Dennis onto the podium, the reigning champion continuing his excellent run of form on Formula E's return after two months, grabbing another third place for Andretti. He now sits firmly in the mix for the championship, just five points off leader Rowland.


Max Gunther backed up his Tokyo E Prix win with a stellar fourth, improving to the top five of the standings. He was followed by Dan Ticktum, who truly impressed with an excellent fifth place finish for ERT, bagging a haul of points for the team.


He would be followed by pole-sitter Mitch Evans, who would be slightly disappointed with sixth despite starting from the head of the field, while Sergio Sette Camara finished seventh on the track. However, a post-race drive-through penalty for 'overpower usage' was converted into a 50-second time penalty, dropping him well out of the points.


Despite an excellent defence in a damaged DS Penske, Vergne would drop down from fourth to seventh, following a penalty for contact with Nick Cassidy at the turn eight/nine chicane, one that dropped the Kiwi to the rear of the field, and eventually out of the race. He would be promoted up one spot after Sette Camara's penalty.


Norman Nato kept his composure despite running off track twice to finish eighth for Andretti, while Stoffel Vandoorne was one of the bigger movers on the day, finishing ninth after starting 17th. Rowland's teammate Sacha Fenestraz finished tenth for Nissan, on another excellent day for the Japanese team.


A conservative, yet exciting Misano E Prix did have plenty of side-by-side action and overtaking, and here's what unfolded in the first of two races of the weekend.


AS IT UNFOLDED

Mitch Evans continued his excellent form on Italian soil, grabbing pole for the first race of the Misano E Prix weekend, after an exciting qualifying session around the speedy Misano circuit. The Kiwi arguably stood as favourite to win during the weekend, going by the Jaguar driver's form guide on Italian soil.


However, the race would be anything but straightforward for the pole-sitter, with the sweeping corners and speedy nature of the Misano World Circuit set to make for a peloton style race, with drivers looking to avoid leading, and sit in the slipstream of the cars ahead to save energy.


Despite the drivers taking it conservatively into the opening corners of the race, there was no doubt the race would be exciting, with the peloton style of racing set to guarantee overtaking action all through.


However, Edoardo Mortara's day would be cut short early in the race, the Mahindra racer forced to pull over with damage halfway through the lap. A bitter start to the weekend for the home hero, and he would be eyeing a better showing on Sunday.


Despite starting tenth on the grid, it was Sebastian Buemi who took the race lead heading onto lap two, and turn one would be the centre of all action, as drivers often went side-by-side in the run to the sweeping right hander, often three-wide or even five abreast into the corner.


Other corners of note would be turns eight and nine, forming a narrow chicane separating two quick speed sections on the track, and this narrow chicane would be the pinch point of contact between Vergne and Cassidy.


Attempting an overtake into turn nine, Vergne's stern defence of second and Cassidy's desire to stay alongside the Penske racer caused damage to the Jaguar racer's front wing, dislodging it, and forcing Cassidy into the pits for repairs. It would be another long day in store for the championship contender, at the rear of the field.


He wouldn't be the only championship contender at the rear though, as Pascal Wehrlein was victim of contact only a lap later, as he would be forced to pit after contact damaged the rear of his Porsche. He would endure a long day at the rear of the field, like his Jaguar counterpart.


Plenty of debris would litter the Misano circuit, with Nico Muller also losing a bit of bodywork after contact with the Envision Racing car of Buemi at turn nine, while Jean-Eric Vergne too lost bodywork after contact at the chicane, his DS Penske suffering front wing damage too during the race.


The double world champion would later be slapped with a five-second penalty for his incident with Cassidy, a tough slap on the wrist considering the close field spread; at one point the Frenchman was predicted to drop all the way down to 18th, an expression of how close the field was spread by.


The overtaking melee would continue, until lap 17 when Sam Bird incurred a puncture, and became the third driver to visit the pits on the day. After repairs, he would rejoin the race, albeit at the rear of the field, and well behind the pack ahead.


Back at the front, the race was heating up, as Rowland's dive-bomb into turn eight caught many off guard, and sent the Andretti of Nato scampering over the run-off at the chicane, the Frenchman still being able to rejoin in the top ten.


With eight laps to go, the drivers had conserved enough energy, to the point they were free to race till the end without fear of running out before the end. Rowland immediately began to pull away, pumping in best sectors to pull a gap to the rest. Da Costa too kept close to the Nissan ahead, with as much as two percent more energy more than his competitor ahead.


The duo quickly pulled away from the chasing pack headed by Vergne, who was forced to drive defensively after his damaged DS Penske was unable to keep up with the top two.


Da Costa would make the race-winning overtake into turn five soon after, and maintained his lead from then on. The battle for third was starting to heat up, with Dennis looming large in Vergne's mirrors. An excellent proponent of defence, Vergne held as firm as he could, even defending the inside line fiercely into turn 12.


However, his efforts would go in vain, as the reigning champion effected an overtake into turn five on the final lap, moving up onto the podium for the second race in succession.


Elsewhere, Rowland kept as close as he could, but Da Costa kept his cool, and held his nerve to win in front of the Misano crowd, taking his first win of the season, delivering Porsche their second win of the season.


On a day of a record nine race leaders: Mitch Evans (Jaguar), Sebastian Buemi (Envision Racing), Robin Frijns (Envision Racing), Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche), Antonio Felix Da Costa (Porsche), Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske), Oliver Rowland (Nissan), Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan), and Sam Bird (McLaren) — the timing of gaining the race lead was important, and Da Costa's patience and efficiency paid off, as he kept his nose clean, and made the decisive overtake at the right time, fetching the biggest spoils available on the day.


Another record set on the day was the number of overtakes in a Formula E race — with 544 overtakes on the day, the figure comfortably eclipsed the record set during the Portland E Prix last season, which witnessed 403 overtakes in its debut outing. Whether the Misano record will be broken anytime soon, only time will tell.


Frantic and frenetic, Misano delivered big on debut, serving up another typically action-packed Formula E race, and unearthing yet another race winner, the sixth in six races in 2024.


The beauty of a double header is it allows drivers an immediate chance at redemption from the previous day's outing, and as has been evident earlier, the second race of the weekend can throw up an entirely different picture for a driver, with Dennis at Diriyah being the most recent example.


The drivers will return to the racetrack once again on Sunday, their eyes firmly set on the ultimate prize, as they look to bring home crucial points and put themselves in the reckoning for the championship, as the season heads further into its European stretch.


Do tune in for the live action once again on Sunday, with qualifying at 9:20 local time (07:20 GMT) and the race at 14:03 local time (12:03 GMT), an hour earlier compared to today's proceedings. With 13 points separating the top five in the standings, it's all to play for!


Here are the final results for the race:


  1. Antonio Felix Da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche)

  2. Oliver Rowland (Nissan) - + 0.410s

  3. Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E Team) - +3.413s

  4. Max Gunther (Maserati MSG) - +4.198s

  5. Dan Ticktum (ERT Formula E Team) - +4.964s

  6. Mitch Evans (Jaguar) - +6.083s

  7. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) - +7.969s

  8. Norman Nato (Andretti Formula E Team) - +7.998s

  9. Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske) - +8.049s

  10. Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan) - +8.178s



The standings are as follows, after round six:


Drivers' standings:

  1. Oliver Rowland (Nissan) - 73 points

  2. Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E Team) - 68 points

  3. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) - 63 points

  4. Nick Cassidy (Jaguar) - 61 points

  5. Max Gunther (Maserati MSG) - 60 points



Constructors' standings

  1. Jaguar - 111 points

  2. TAG Heuer Porsche - 108 points

  3. Andretti Formula E Team - 89 points

  4. Nissan Formula E Team - 82 points

  5. DS Penske - 65 points





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