Formula E: Mortara thrusts himself into title contention with Puebela victory
Venturi's Edoardo Mortara has thrusted himself into the lead of the Driver's Championship with his second career win in Formula E after fending-off a late charge from Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein.
The Swiss-Italian driver capped-off a brilliant weekend after securing third place in the opening race round the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed in Puebela, Mexico. His podium coupled with his win means that the ROKiT Venturi Racing driver shoots to the top of the standings with a comfortable lead of ten points heading into the second half of the season.
The Venturi driver took the race lead at the halfway stage as he battled with Nissan's Oliver Rowland and Tag Heuer Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein as the trio went through the stages of Formula E's "Attack Modes."
CELEBRATION: Mortara returns to the top step of the Formula E podium for the second time in his career as Venturi shoot up into sixth in the championship
Rowland qualified on Pole Position and was agressive with his "Attack Mode" strategy as he used them both within the first quarter of the race. Wehrlein followed Rowland by using his "Attack Modes" as Mortara was putting in quick laps ahead of them and emerged ahead once he activated his.
With the main championship contenders either at the lower end of the points or failing to finish, it allowed for any driver to steal a march and shake-up the standings and that is what Mortara's win has done. Given that this year's championship has been so close so far also aided the shake-up. At the moment, it's anyone's game and it can change in such little time. Just before today's race, Mortara was eighth, now he's leading the championship.
After his heart-breaking post-race disqualification which led to Lucas di Grassi leading home an Audi one-two on Saturday, Wehrlein hounded Mortara as the German sought redemption but as cruel as sport is sometimes, more heartbreak was to follow.
DIFFICULT WEEKEND: Despite having the pace to finish both races this weekend on the podium, even win, Wehrlein and Porsche walk away with only 12 points
Wehrlein had the bit between his teeth and was piling the pressure on Mortar, however, a slight mistake at Turn 7 allowed Mortara to open up the gap. To add further pain to Wehrlein's weekend, he lost his podium spot as a five second time penalty was added to his race dropping the German to fourth behind Envision Virgin Racing's Nick Cassidy and Rowland.
In the battle for the final podium spot, Rowland held on for most of the race but an oportunistic move by Cassidy meant that a first career podium was his.
In his nine races as a Formula E driver, Cassidy stood on the podium for the first time as the New Zealander scored points for the third time this season. His team-mate and championship leader heading into the race, Robin Frijns, was beaten by Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler's Rene Rast for the final point in tenth after a last-gasp move on the final lap.
This was a strong end to a very strong weekend for Rast as he claimed the fastest lap of the race once again and coupled with his second place yesterday, the Audi man is within striking distance of the top of the championship.
For the championship contenders, DS Techeetah's Antonio Felix da Costa crashed with a few laps remaining as the defending champion ran wide onto the grass and shunted heavily into the barrier destroying his car. The Portuguese driver managed to move his car into a safe space meaning that there wasn't need for a late Safety Car.
Mitch Evans ensured that Jaguar picked up points as the New Zealander crossed the line in ninth as team-mate Sam Bird finished a few tenths behind Frijns in twelfth. It ended a pretty disappointing weekend for Bird as the Brit failed to score in the opening race after a collision with Mahindra's Alex Lynn.
Da Costa's team-mate and Double Formula E Champion, Jean-Eric Vergne held onto eighth place after the Frenchman half-spun trying to stay ahead of BMW i Andretti's Jake Dennis and Lynn. Vergne lost them positions but managed to keep Evans at bay to rescue eighth.
MIXED FORTUNES: Both da Costa and Vergne failed to finish at least one of the races this weekend but Techeetah are still within striking distance of Mercedes who lead the Championship
Yesterday's winner, Di Grassi, had a scrappy race which ended with the Brazilian getting a drive-through penalty after clashing with Mercedes-Benz EQ Nyck de Vries. More drama followed the Season 3 Champion as he then clashed with Bird and Nissan's Sebastien Buemi later on in the race.
Standing in for Nico Muller at Dragon/Penske Autosport, Swedish driver Joel Eriksson was classified in 15th which meant that he finished both races over the weekend.