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LONDON/RIYADH: Avalanche Andretti’s British rider Jake Dennis produced a commanding light-to-flag performance to win the first race of the 2022 SABIC London E-Prix doubleheader on Saturday, repeating his performances from last season on the outdoor/indoor street circuit at ExCeL London.

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship has returned to ExCeL London following its debut last season, but has been open to full capacity following last year’s COVID-19 access restrictions. Thousands of fans at the east London venue gave the victorious Dennis a standing ovation after he held off the early advances of World Drivers’ Championship leader Stoffel Vandoorne to win the race to the delight of a cheering home crowd.

Mercedes-EQ’s Vandoorne settled for a cool performance as he came home second for his 17th Formula E podium, with his nearest championship rivals trailing behind.

In fact, at the end of the first lap, both drivers behind Vandoorne in the driver’s standings – ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara in second and Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans in third – were in wars, with Mortara forced to drop back. into the pit, which completely knocked him out of the fight.

Reigning champion Nyck de Vries played rear-gunner for teammate Vandoorne to take on Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing), who was chasing hard towards the end of the race.

It was mission accomplished for the Dutchman de Vries, who retained third place. Cassidy would settle for fourth after working his way through the pack with relative ease to head home ahead of Oliver Askew, who got between two Avalanche Andrettis in the top five.

Mitch Evans managed to pick up valuable championship points in sixth, the best of the other four title contenders heading into the weekend, with Vergne unable to break free from the midfield mud in 13th and Mortara out after contact on lap 1 the very last one. .

That left Vandoorne’s advantage in the World Drivers’ Championship as an 11-point lead became a 26-point lead and Evans moved into second ahead of Mortara.

In the team race, Mercedes-EQ stretched a 37-point lead over DS TECHEETAH.

It returns to ExCeL London on Sunday for Round 14 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and the final stop before Season 8 concludes with Rounds 15 and 16 in Seoul, the first time the all-electric series has visited South Korea.

“Honestly, it was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, just physically. When the rubber reaches the surface, it is the inner surface, it is so difficult to turn the steering wheel. But we managed 45 minutes and honestly the car was amazing,” said Dennis.

“So it was a technical race where we tried to handle Stoffel and Nyck, obviously two teammates who work together. So I had to manage it and the team did a great job, the car was incredible and the strategy was strong. And then it was just about bringing it home in the last 15 laps and watching out for Stoffel’s Fanboost,” he said.

“But yeah, crazy race and to be honest when I crossed the checkered flag I could hear the fans, it was one of the best experiences of my life – so great. Big thanks to all the fans and the British support.”

“I’ve never experienced anything like it. And obviously being in the interior and the lights and seeing everyone get up – it was just a memory of a lifetime. We have some work to do tomorrow and obviously we have to try to repeat that.”

Vandoorne said: “Today was a good day to finish second. Well done to Jake – I think he had an incredible day. He was already very fast in practice and managed to get pole position and then drove a very smart race. There really was no answer for us. I tried to stay as close as I could but on this circuit it wasn’t enough to get him. But great team results, second and third. So yeah, let’s keep going – three to go and tomorrow’s another chance.’

Ferdinand Medina

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