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Pascal Wehrlein in his Porsche race suit and white Hankook cap. He has two fists half raised as he cheers

Wehrlein takes championship lead with second Diriyah victory

Pascal Wehrlein takes the early FIA Formula E championship lead with a second consecutive victory in Diriyah. 

The Porsche Formula E team driver looked unstoppable under the floodlights and finished 1.252s ahead of title rival Jake Dennis. 

Pole sitter Jake Hughes ran out of energy just before the line, which would ultimately cost Mitch Evans P6. 

Evans took the lead off the line with Hughes following close behind. Meanwhile, Wehrlein had jumped past Sebastien Buemi on the opening lap and was on the tail of Rene Rast in P3. 

The leading trio took Attack Mode early, with Rast coming out in front once all three had gone through the activation zone for the first time. The added power didn’t do much to keep them ahead of Wehrlein, however, as the Porsche driver swept past Hughes and Evans before he took moved off line to activate the extra energy. 

Wehrlein passed Rast as the McLaren driver activated his Attack Mode for the second time. From that point on, the Porsche driver would not be caught. 

Meanwhile, Jake Dennis was having a similar race to his second placed finish on Friday, carefully picking his way up through the order. He easily swept past Evans and Rast to take second, while Hughes continued to slip backwards. Hughes was also having a similar race to his Friday outing. 

Dennis was closing the gap to Wehrlein when an off for Nico Mueller at Turn 15 brought out the safety car. 

The Andretti driver was now right on Wehrlein’s tail, but he couldn’t stick with the Porsche when the track turned green on lap 31 of 39. The two also had Sam Bird directly behind them. Bird had 2% more energy but was yet to take any Attack Mode. 

As Wehrlein pulled away at the front of the order, Dennis, Bird and Evans all activated Attack Mode together. The move meant Dennis remained second, but Rast was able to pass Bird for P3. 

Despite the added power, Dennis couldn’t close the gap to Wehrlein. He did manage to pull away from the battling Rast and Bird, finishing a comfortable three seconds ahead of the duo. 

Bird was able to get alongside Rast on one occasion, only to go in deep at the chicane and fall away again. He continued to push throughout the final laps, including the single lap added due to the safety car intervention, but couldn’t get back ahead and had to settle for fourth. 

Meanwhile, a similar looking battle was going on behind as Mitch Evans looked for a way past Jake Hughes. Hughes defended well but was running low on energy. The McLaren hit zero just before the chequered flag, but Evans was so close behind he pushed Hughes over the line. As the two went slow, Sebastien Buemi pulled alongside them and managed to cross the line ahead of Evans. 

After an early battle with Sergio Sette Camara, Sacha Fenestraz climbed up the order to finish eighth ahead of Edoardo Mortara and Dan Ticktum. All three took their first points of the season. 

Bethonie Waring

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