Cassidy saves up for late charge to win first race of Berlin E-Prix

Nick Cassidy emerged victorious from a thrilling first Berlin E-Prix race, climbing from ninth on the grid to win by 4.651s.

But that relatively comfortable victory margin wasn’t a true reflection of the race, which was the most competitive of the year so far. As with Misano, the Berlin track’s fast nature and resultant high energy consumption led to a race with an abundance of overtaking with nobody comfortable enough to pull away until the late stages.

Cassidy played that game to perfection, dropping as low as 21st early in the race as he saved energy. With power in the bank, he was able to storm into the lead conversation after the race’s allotted 40 laps were up, the contest being extended by six more tours after two safety car periods.


On the restart from the second safety car period — caused by Maximilian Guether slamming the wall on the exit of Turn 9 — 12 laps from the end, it was Nissan’s Oliver Rowland who emerged from a four-wide battle for the lead at Turn 6, but Evans slipped by at the next corner.

A lap later it was DS Penske’s Jean-Eric Vergne on the point; Cassidy was a lowly 13th then, but continued to hack away at the pack ahead, thanks to the energy conserved in the thick of the field while those in front squabbled over the prime positions. The Jaguar TCS Racing driver then moved to the fore with four to go, and dropped the hammer to gap those behind him.

Vergne was the winner of the lottery for second, ahead of Rowland who completed another impressive climb — from 15th on the grid — to complete the podium, with Evans fourth. The DS Penske man was an early leader along with teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, polesitter Edoardo Mortara and the TAG Heuer Porsche duo of Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Felix da Costa.

Such was the frequency of passing throughout the field, an early safety car — brought out to clear the stricken Envision Racing car of Joel Eriksson after he came to a stop on the exit of Turn 4 — was extended to re-rack the field, with Vandoorne having swept by Wehrlein for second into Turn 1 as the yellows came out.

When the race restarted on lap 17, Vergne was able to hold on out in front with Wehrlein behind him, but a dip into the Attack Mode activation zone dropped Vandoorne back, and he’d be out of the win fight entirely after being slowed by a collision between Dan Ticktum and Lucas di Grassi ahead of him that help up multiple drivers. He eventually recovered to seventh behind the two factory Porsches after initially falling further back as the race progressed.

Mortara finished eighth having fallen away from the leaders relatively early on. Sacha Fenestraz and Taylor Barnard — scoring his first points — finished ninth and 10th, staying out of trouble to come from 16th and 13th on the grid respectively.

Joining Guenther and Eriksson in failing to finish were Jake Dennis and di Grassi. Dennis put in a stellar performance to climb from the back of the grid into the top three, but a lock-up at Turn 3 ruined his day and a subsequent puncture ending it entirely. His Andretti teammate Norman Nato also suffered a puncture, but was able to finish the race in 18th and with the fastest lap.


Story originally appeared on Racer