Audi’s Lucas di Grassi led a 1-2 in Race 1 of Formula E Puebla EPrix weekend, with Rene Rast second and Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara third after Pascal Wehrlein’s DQ.
Pole-sitter Pascal Wehrlein started Race 1 of Formula E Puebla EPrix nicely in his Porsche as front-row starter Oliver Rowland in the Nissan e.Dams dropped to 13th after a slow run off the line. The Brit was already facing radio issues which the team couldn’t fix.
It gave BMW Andretti’s Maximilian Guenther a chance to push through and move to second from fifth as he passed teammate Jake Dennis at Turn 1. The slow run from Rowland hampered DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who remained fourth.
Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara was fifth with Mahindra’s Alexander Sims in sixth from Audi duo of Lucas de Grassi and Rene Rast, where the Top 10 was rounded out by Porsche’s Andre Lotterer. Before they could settle down, there was a safety car deployed already.
Envision Virgin’s Nick Cassidy crashed out on the right-hander on his own. Mahindra’s Alex Lynn, meanwhile, had to pit for a puncture as three drivers’ completed their pre-race penalties. The re-start worked well for Wehrlein as he led the way.
The German took an early Attack Mode but kept his nose ahead in the Top 3, while di Grassi gained on Sims. Outside the Top 10, Envision Virgin’s Robin Frijns out-braked in the right-hander and spun Mercedes’ Nyck de Vries around.
There was more drama as Vergne was forced to retire after a collision with Sims on the exit of the Attack Mode corner. This didn’t help the Mahindra driver, as well, who tapped on the wall too, which dropped in the lower half of the Top 10.
In a repeat, teammate Lynn also had a similar incident with Jaguar’s Sam Bird, who climbed his way into the Top 10, but his race ended in the collision. The moves were put under investigation, but both the Mahindra drivers were cleared from it.
The race was neutralised to recover Bird’s car, as Wehrlein led Gunther on the re-start, with Dennis in third from Mortara, di Grassi, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, Rast, Sims, DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa and Lynn in the Top 10.
Interestingly, Wehrlein pulled away ahead, leaving the two BMW drivers to squabble for second. Dennis passed Guenther for second but the German fought back. As they battled through, di Grassi and Mortara were close behind the two to take them on.
It didn’t take long for it to happen as di Grassi and Mortara barged their way through both the BMW drivers to take second and third. The Venturi racer tried to hang on to third but Rast managed to get through him to make it two Audi cars on the podium.
While Dennis hung on to fifth, Guenther dropped back to seventh behind Sims, who managed to retake track position from da Costa, who had a moment in the right-hander while trying to pass the two BMW drivers.
At the front, Wehrlein had it under control to win Race 1 of Formula E Puebla EPrix weekend from di Grassi and Rast. But just as they crossed the line, it was notified that the Porsche drivers were disqualified for ‘not declaring the tyres’.
It meant, it was a Audi 1-2 finish, with di Grassi winning Race 1 of Formula E Puebla EPrix from Rast, with Venturi’s Mortara completing the podium. Sims was fourth after he passed Dennis on the last lap, as da Costa was sixth from Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Belgian fought his way through from outside the Top 10 to seventh, as his teammate de Vries climbed up to ninth behind Evans. The Top 10 was eventually rounded out by Lynn with NIO’s Oliver Turvey missing out on points in 11th from Guenther.
Position 13-17: Tom Blomqvist, Norman Nato, Sergio Sette Camara, Frijns, Joel Eriksson. DNF: Bird, Vergne, Cassidy. DQ: Wehrlein, Lotterer, Rowland, Sebastien Buemi.