Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis put one hand on the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on the streets of Rome, with the Brit securing a first Grand Slam of the GEN3 era.
Mitch Evans had continued his amazing form in Italy on the previous day, making it three wins from three in the Eternal City. The Kiwi escaped the drama of a multi-car pileup on Lap 9 to claim his third win of the season, and also became the first driver turn his pole position into a win in Rome.
The incident also had big consequences for the Championship standings, with challenger Pascal Wehrlein of Porsche unfortunately being caught up in the crash.
Andretti’s Dennis was inches from being involved in the incident, but luckily avoided any damage as he went on to secure a fourth placed finish.
How the crash happened!
Drama on Lap 9 saw multiple cars caught up in a shunt at the quickest part of the track with Bird losing his Jaguar and Mortara collecting the I-TYPE 6 while Buemi, da Costa and di Grassi were also involved. Bird’s car bottomed out coming out of the flat-out Turn 6, causing the Brit to lose the rear. Buemi clipped back end of the Jaguar on his way through, and Mortara flew into the side of Bird’s car as it sat stricken in the middle of the circuit.
“I am very happy all the drivers are safe,” Season 3 champion Lucas di Grassi stated about the accident that ended his race. “I had zero problem physically and the car had minor damage compared to what could have been, so in one way we have been lucky today that nothing more serious happened.”
Only 14 cars made the restart and Evans had a comfortable ride across the finish line, heading home title challenger Nick Cassidy of Envision Racing and Maserati’s Max Guenther. Dennis landed fourth spot, with DS Penske’s Jean-Éric Vergne following just behind.
ABT Cupra’s Nico Mueller secured a season best finish of sixth, whilst Porsche’s Pascal Werhlein did incredibly well to register some points, coming in seventh.
The rest of the top ten was made up of Nissan’s Norman Nato, NIO’s Sergio Sette Cámara and Sacha Fenestraz of Nissan.
“It was almost two races that we had,” Evans said after the race. “First of all, it was good to see everyone was fine after that shunt. It was pretty big and Sam had a pretty scary moment.
“Then after that I was a little bit down on energy compared to Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) and Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti), so I had to try and equalise that but the energy target dropped a lot after the Safety Car. It became a lot more of an energy race that we were expecting, but I could manage it well. The team also guided me through like always and left the rest with me.”
— Jaguar TCS Racing (@JaguarRacing) July 15, 2023
With Porsche’s Pascal Werhlein slipping to a seventh place finish the day before, Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis had a major opportunity to build a gap on the German heading into the final weekend of the season, and the Brit did exactly that by qualifying in pole position.
Dennis went on to secure the first lights-to-flag victory of the GEN3 era, but there was plenty of drama along the way.
On just the second lap of the race, Cassidy, who had qualified in second, looked to make a move on Dennis into the braking zone of Turn 7. As Cassidy was manoeuvring round the outside, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans clipped the rear of Cassidy, which sent Evans flying spectacularly over the top of Cassidy’s Envision Racing Jaguar I-TYPE 6.
Evans’ race was over and Cassidy could only recover to P14, presenting an incredible opportunity to Jake Dennis heading into his home race.
“It hurts, it sucks right now,” Evans said after the race. “It all happened very quickly, I wasn’t expecting them to back up so much as I was approaching the back of Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti). “I tried to avoid it, but then I rode Nick Cassidy’s wheel, and it just got out of control. I feel really bad. It caught me by surprise, I was not expecting them to be that slow at the apex. It was a really critical time of the season, I was in an attacking mindset, I wanted to make progress and position myself into Turn 8 to get Nick, but obviously it didn’t go to plan. Feel sorry for Nick, and the Envision Racing guys. This has obviously really hurt my championship now.”
The Brit eventually cantered to a three-second win and became one of only three drivers to have sealed a Grand Slam and is the first driver to have achieved the feat twice in Formula E history.
More importantly, that result means Dennis takes a 24-point advantage over Cassidy into the season finale double-header in London. Evans is 44 points back in third, while TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein retains a slim mathematical hope, 49 points shy of top spot with 58 points available.
WINNERS!! 🏆 Pole, win & fastest lap! Nothing comes close! What a team effort, I love these guys 🔥👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/wj9dkspUdP
— Jake Dennis 🔺 (@JakeDennis19) July 16, 2023
Jake Dennis – UK – AVALANCHE ANDRETTI FORMULA E – 195 points
Nick Cassidy – NEW ZEALAND – ENVISION RACING – 171 points
Mitch Evans – NEW ZELEAND – JAGUAR TCS RACING – 151 points
Pascal Werhelin – GERMANY – TAG HEUER PORSCHE FORMULA E TEAM – 146 points
Jean-Éric Vergne – FRANCE – DS PENSKE – 107 points
Max Günther – GERMANY – MASERATI MSG RACING – 101 points
Antonio Felix da Costa – PORTUGAL – TAG HEUER PORSCHE FORMULA E TEAM – 93 points
Sébastien Buemi – SWITZERLAND – ENVISION RACING – 82 points
Sam Bird – UK – JAGUAR TCS RACING – 77 points
Norman Nato – FRANCE – NISSAN FORMULA E TEAM – 47 points