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Last-lap madness! Wehrlein takes Misano victory after Rowland heartbreak

Written by Vyas Ponnuri


Pascal Wehrlein ensured TAG Heuer Porsche left Misano on a winning note, making up for the events of Saturday with a victory on Sunday, being the beneficiary of a last-lap heartbreak for Oliver Rowland, who slowed on the last lap, appearing to have run out of energy.


Rowland, running in the lead for a significant portion of the race, suddenly pulled off the track on the exit of turn five, as cameras suddenly panned to the red Nissan pulling off, and the Porsche behind taking the lead.


Team principal Tommaso Volpe admitted post-race that it was down to an issue with the system, admitting Rowland's car may have been fed an incorrect lap count, causing him to consume more energy compared to his competitors behind.


Even still, the Barnsley-native retiring on the last lap epitomised a famous motorsport adage: "In order to finish first, first you must finish."


Andretti's Jake Dennis backed up his podium from Saturday's race, going one better on Sunday, as he capitalised from the events on the last lap to hold off the chasing Nico Muller for most of the race, to take home a runners-up finish.


Muller kept Dennis honest, pressuring the Briton for most of the race, before losing out on the dash to the finish line to Jaguar's Nick Cassidy, the Kiwi returning to the podium for the first time since his Diriyah E Prix victory in January.


Even still, Muller would be delighted with fourth, bringing home 12 valuable points for ABT Cupra, and ensuring they stay in the battle for eighth in the constructors standings with compatriots ERT Racing.


A penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage demoted pole-sitter Jake Hughes from fifth to eighth, with Rowland's teammate Sacha Fenestraz eventually promoted to fifth, ahead of Sergio Sette Camara, who redeemed himself with sixth on Sunday, after seventh was snatched from the Brazilian in round six on Saturday.


Jean-Eric Vergne took home a solid seventh for DS Penske, ahead of Hughes in eighth, with the Maserati duo of Max Gunther and Jehan Daruvala rounding out the points, the Indian racer finally picking up his first Formula E point in tenth.


Another thrilling Misano E Prix, which brought plenty of surprises, shock, disappointment, elation, heartbreak, and a whole range of emotions across the paddock, even more so after the drama on the final lap of the second race of the weekend.


AS IT UNFOLDED

Earlier in the day, Jake Hughes took his third Formula E pole position earlier, once again from Jean-Eric Vergne. The McLaren driver appeared to have redeemed himself after a tough Saturday, when he finished outside the points.


As the five red lights went out, all eyes would have been on Antonio Felix Da Costa down in last place, but Rowland appeared to have steadily made his way up from tenth on the grid, making three overtakes into turn one soon after, before sedately rising up the leaderboard into the battle for victory.


The safety car would make its first appearance around the Misano World Circuit on lap eight, with a stricken Robin Frijns pulling off into the gravel at turn seven, having been the meat in a three-wide sandwich consisting of Da Costa and Sam Bird's NEOM McLaren.


A short turnaround ensured the field got back to green flag running on lap nine, with Nico Muller leading the way for ABT Cupra, eyeing a lofty result after starting fourth.


However, his joy at the front would be short-lived, as Wehrlein, Rowland, and Dennis made their way past the ABT Cupra, pushing the Swissman down to fourth.


Da Costa's weekend would go from bad to worse, as the Portuguese driver's race took a turn for the worse, having run into his rival ahead on lap 11, and damaging his front wing, his Porsche slowing as the front wing made contact with the tarmac. He would pull into the pits for repairs, rejoining nearly a lap down.


The same fate would befall Norman Nato's Andretti on lap 13, the Frenchman running into Vergne at turn seven, damaging his front wing, and relegated to the rear of the field after pitting for a front wing change. Vergne's teammate Stoffel Vandoorne too pulled in for repairs, having incurred damage to his front wing.


Envision Racing's tough weekend would end on a tough note, with Sebastian Buemi losing bodywork into turn 13, and pulling into the pits to retire. The team hadn't scored a single point all weekend, leaving them marooned in eighth in the constructors' standings.


The battle at the front would once again take the spotlight, as Muller fought desperately to retain fourth, as he elbowed Hughes onto the run off at turn four, as the pole-sitter dropped from fifth to seventh on the road, behind Cassidy and Gunther.


Mitch Evans' time in Italy would be one to forget, as he failed to score points for the third race in succession, stopping on track at turn nine, before getting going once again, without necessitating the need for another safety car period. He would drop well down the order, ruining his chances of scoring even a singular point.


While one Nissan led, the other began to steadily make his way up the field, as Fenestraz got past Edoardo Mortara on lap 19 to take 11th, before dispatching Muller's teammate Di Grassi shortly after, putting himself into the points paying positions.


Despite appearing to be down on energy compared to the likes of Wehrlein and Dennis, Rowland opted to go for the overtake into turn five, taking the lead with over five tours to go around the Misano World Circuit. The Briton pushed on, despite having as much as 3% less energy to Wehrlein behind. It would be a tight finish for the Nissan racer, should he have made it all the way to the end.


Sadly for the Nissan racer, he would run out of energy only halfway through the final tour, pulling off on the exit of turn five, as Wehrlein, Dennis and Muller all sped on. A confused Rowland wondered why only he was pulling off, ruing the lack of added laps, before questioning to his race engineer if teammate Fenestraz too was pulling off, with his engineer clarifying Fenestraz running fine on energy.


As one battle was decided, another loomed: The battle for third had now morphed into a three-car battle for second, as Muller ramped up the pressure on Dennis. The Andretti racer defended firmly from the chasing ABT Cupra and Jaguar behind, sealing second, but Cassidy outdid Muller on the run to the line, denying the German team their moment on the rostrum.


Yet, the spotlight was on another German team — and driver, as Pascal Wehrlein became the first repeat winner in season ten, taking the spoils after Rowland and Nissan's heartbreak. A fastest lap of 1:19.512 would be cherry on the cake for the team, making up for the events of Saturday, when Da Costa lost his victory due to a post-race disqualification for an incorrect throttle damper setting.


The win catapulted Wehrlein back to the head of the standings, level on points with reigning champion Dennis, the former leading on countback, by virtue of having more race victories.


Despite Rowland's last-lap DNF, he remained in third, on 80 points, while Cassidy's podium brought him back into contention, sitting only 13 points off the leading duo.


Further down, Muller's points haul ensured the team closed in on ERT Formula E Team in the battle for eighth, despite the latter scoring eight points by virtue of Sette Camara's sixth in the race, while Mahindra's Mortara and Nyck de Vries remain the only drivers not to score in 2024, the team firmly rooted to the bottom of the standings, yet to open their account.


The drivers and teams will get two weeks to soak in the joy, or to ponder over disappointment and lost points, as Formula E ventures into the crown jewel of motorsport, Monaco, for the sole Monaco E Prix on the calendar, in two weeks time.


UPDATE: Max Gunther receives a post-race penalty that drops him out of the points, promoting Daruvala to ninth and Sam Bird to tenth.


Here are the final results for round seven at Misano:


  1. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche)

  2. Jake Dennis (Andretti Formula E Team) - +1.933s

  3. Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing) - +2.221s

  4. Nico Muller (ABT Cupra) - +2.271s

  5. Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan) - +5.230s

  6. Sergio Sette Camara (ERT Formula E Team) - +5.727s

  7. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) - +6.794s

  8. Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren Formula E Team) - +8.236s

  9. Jehan Daruvala (Maserati MSG) - +8.714s

  10. Sam Bird (NEOM McLaren Formula E Team) - +11.912s


The drivers' standings after the Misano double-header are as follows:


  1. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) - 89 points

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

  3. Oliver Rowland (Nissan) - 80 points

  4. Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing) - 76 points

  5. Max Gunther (Maserati MSG) - 63 points



The constructors' standings after the Misano double-header are as follows:


  1. Jaguar TCS Racing - 128 points

  2. Andretti Formula E Team - 112 points

  3. TAG Heuer Porsche - 109 points

  4. Nissan - 100 points

  5. DS Penske - 75 points

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