Defending Formula E series champion and Andretti Formula E driver Jake Dennis won the opening race of the ABB FIA Formula E Diriyah E-Prix doubleheader in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
The win in season's second round of the all-electric open-wheel series helped Dennis overcome a disappointing ninth-place finish in the season-opening race last time out in Mexico City. Dennis dominated the second race of the season, winning by a whopping 13.289 seconds ahead two-time champion Jean-Eric Vergne. The margin of victory was the second-largest in Formula E history.
Jaguar TCS Racing’s Nick Cassidy rounded out the podium with his third-place finish.
"I can only honestly thank these guys out here so much, you know, we've had a difficult start to the season, but we turned it around and came back," Dennis said. "I got my biggest win in Formula E tonight. The last eight, nine laps I could really give everything and create that 13 second lead. These days don't come around very often.
“I have to say the enjoyment of racing here in Saudi under the lights and just enjoying every lap. It was so much fun. The track really started to grip up at the end and we could actually push the cars. It was a pretty phenomenal performance.”
As for runner-up Vergne, it was a case of what might have been for the pole sitter.
"Usually starting on pole you want to win the race, any other place is a disappointment but I’m very happy today," Vergne said. "The pace we set—it’s been flying doing the race, it’s the best I could have done today, we made a huge step forward compared to last year, I’m very happy that the work is paying off. We’re catching up, we’re not there, but we’re gonna be there."
Pascal Wehrlein, winner of the opener in Mexico City, finished eighth to retain a slim lead in the season championship. He walked away from the first race of the weekend with 32 points, followed by Cassidy with 31, Vergne with 29 and Dennis with 28.
The race was the first of a weekend doubleheader in the desert. Race 2 is Saturday.