Tag Heuer PorscheAntónio Félix da Costa scores his first victory in the ABB FIA formula e World Championship season after a dramatic battle with former teammate Jean-Éric Vergne at the 2023 Cape Town E-Prix.
The win promoted Da Costa to fourth place in the drivers’ standings, and the 31-year-old is back in the lead group after a smashing start to Season 9, where the driver saw his Porsche teammate. pascal wehrlein Build a leading leader at the top of the World Championship.
It was a fantastic drive from the Portuguese driver who started at P11 and took the checkered flag after making two daring passes after tackling DS Penske’s Vergne for the lead in Formula E’s sub-Saharan Africa debut.
This was Da Costa’s first win for his new team, and also his first Formula E victory since the 2022 New York City E-Prix in Season 8.
Speaking later, the visibly emotional Da Costa admitted he felt pressured on the way to the race.
“I had a lot of weight on my shoulders,” he said. “Thanks to those who stood by me and helped me get here. It’s been a journey.
“I knew it was going to be a strategic race, I’ve done this race before, you have to get past this race and really plan a late move in the race because the energy plays a big role and that’s why the pursuit was very important to me a little bit of advantage. To build and use that energy advantage,” he said. I wanted to be behind him (Vergne) for a few laps, but I know that leaving late is always a risk and JEV is a very difficult man to get through. For a moment I thought I was going on a T9! But it’s nice to race him on a day like this.
“(I was ready to give it my all), I thought for a moment in the race that if I missed the ATTACK mode, the mode would be lost and I should finish second, but when I fell behind him I could see the energy coming back and I said let’s go. That’s the only way I like to do it.”
The Porsche driver climbed into the top 10 and was in the top three on Lap 20. With the pack compressed by the All-court Yellow in Round 21, only 1.5 seconds split the top four and it was up to everyone to scrap the lead. .
Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy beat impressive rookie and pole sitters Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan) and Maximilian Guenther (Maserati MSG) in the first round of ATTACK MODE activations – it took longer before he chose his first 50kW boost – and he’s slowly risen to the lead.
On Lap 24, Da Costa produced an extreme pass from Cassidy to steal the lead on the toughest part of the circuit between Turns 8 and 9, where three accidents occurred earlier in the weekend.
He then took the second forced ATTACK MODE and cleared enough to retake the lead, but missed the activation loop and handed the lead to Hyderabad winner Vergne a lap later.
In Lap 21, Da Costa tried the same striking overtaking maneuver once again, this time at Vergne. Once again there was less room and under heavy pressure from the JEV he sent it outside Turn 7 to 8 and 9 and to win the race.
Fenestraz managed to land a possible podium with Cassidy, but the Nissan driver crashed into the wall on the final lap, giving Kiwi third place.
Rene Rast (NEOM McLaren) moved up to fourth place with a six-point win, while Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) took the fifth flag. Dan Ticktum allowed NIO 333 to score strong again by finishing in sixth place – two in the jump top for the Anglo-Chinese team who started well into the 3rd GEN.
Reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske) settled for relative scrap and seventh place as his teammate took the podium. Norman Nato (Nissan), Andre Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche) and Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren) rounded out the top 10 and points.
Wehrlein, the ranking leader at brother Porsche, crashed cleanly into the back of Buemi’s Envision Racing car on Lap 1 – cooking him too much and forcing him to retire early.
The bad looks of the Jaguar TCS Racing team did not give up. Sam Bird’s damaged car was ineligible to start, after which Mitch Evans was penalized for overpowering and knocked him out of a then-strong fourth place early in the race.
Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis moved up to ninth to take advantage of qualifying leader Wehrlein’s retirement, but would be hit with a drive-through penalty due to low-pressure tires.
Round 6 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will be held in São Paulo, Brazil, on Saturday, March 25.