Antonio Felix Da Costa wins the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix after a daring penultimate lap move past Jean-Eric Vergne.
The two former team-mates battled it out for the lead of the race late on after Da Costa’s strategy was derailed by a missed Attack Mode activation point.
The pair were separated by just 0.281s at the chequered flag as Da Costa took his first win of the season.
It wouldn’t be until late in the race that either driver hit the front of the field. Da Costa started from 12th on the grid, with Vergne a few places higher in P5.
Da Costa spent the first half of the race climbing up through the order, while Vergne lingered at the back of the battle for the lead.
Ahead of them, Maximillian Guenther had taken the lead from Sacha Fenestraz just before an opening lap caution period. Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans remained close behind.
Evans was taken out of the battle by a drive-through penalty for over power, while a tap of the wall for Guenther knocked the Maserati driver out of the race.
Cassidy and Fenestraz both dived for the Attack Mode activation zone just as the Full Course Yellow was called to clear Guenther’s car. Cassidy remained at the front of the field, but it was now Da Costa second and Vergne third.
After the short pause, Da Costa was immediately on the attack, passing Cassidy through turn eight. Vergne followed through shortly after.
At this point, Da Costa was the only driver still with an Attack Mode to take. He spent a few laps extending his lead at the front of the order and was almost 1.5s ahead when he first tried to take the Attack Mode. However, the Porsche Formula E team driver missed one of the activation points and Vergne was brought back onto his tail.
Vergne was able to come through when Da Costa eventually managed to take Attack Mode, but Da Costa would spend the remainder of the race pushing him hard. Finally, on the penultimate lap, Da Costa was able to find a way past Vergne, squeezing up the inside of the DS Penske driver and taking the lead.
Vergne had no answer, but continued to push on the final lap before settling for P2.
It was a race of two halves for Porsche. While Da Costa fought for victory, championship leader Pascal Wehrlein was out of the race almost before it began.
Wehrlein out-braked himself on the opening lap, hitting the back of Sebastien Buemi’s Envision. Buemi was able to continue but Wehrlein’s car was too badly damaged. It was this opening lap incident that brought out the initial FCY and safety car. Edoardo Mortara also retired on the opening lap.
Sacha Fenestraz looked set for third, having taken the position from Cassidy late on, but a final lap touch of the wall knocked him out of the race. Cassidy narrowly beat Rene Rast to the chequered flag to take the podium position.
Sebastien Buemi managed to recover to fifth ahead of Dan Ticktum, Stoffel Vandoorne and Norman Nato. Andre Lotterer and Jake Hughes completed the top 10.