Vandoorne holds on in frantic finish to Rome E-Prix

Stoffel Vandoorne

Mercedes-EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne survived a late-race Safety Car to win the fourth round of the FIA Formula E World Championship in Rome.

After Jean-Eric Vergne won the first leg of the Rome E-Pri double-header, Vandoorne dominated a similarly frantic affair in Italy.

Having claimed pole position earlier in the morning, Nick Cassidy led the field to the Green Flag in the Envision Virgin Racing entry.

However, his time at the front lasted little more than a few hundred metres as he locked up under brakes and spun.

The Kiwi blamed a software issue for the spin, which dropped him from top spot down to 11th in the order.

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With Cassidy out of the way, Venturi Racing driver Norman Nato was handed the lead, though he too spent very little time at the front.

Porsche pilot Pascal Wehrlein made a squirrelly pas under brakes, locking his rear wheels as he passed the Frenchman.

Having made up a couple of places, Cassidy’s day went from bad to worse.

Nissan’s Oliver Rowland took his first serving of Attack Mode and tried to sneak down the inside of Cassidy, but wasn’t far up enough and clipped the Kiwi, sending him into the Tecpro barriers.

Cassidy got back underway, albeit sporting bodywork damage and a right rear puncture.

After a technical problem prevented Lucas Di Grassi from winning Saturday’s race, the Sunday affair wasn’t much better.

A collision between he and Sebastien Buemi of Nissan with 30 minutes to go resulted in the Audi Sport driver spearing hard into the wall on the front straight.

Yellow Flag conditions slowed the field as the Brazilian’s car was recovered and debris removed.

Just moments before the Yellow Flag, Vandoorne made his way past Wehrlein for the lead as the latter took his second serving of Attack Mode.

Mahindra Racing driver Alexander Sims caught Wehrlein napping as the Green Flag flew, sneaking past on the run up to the start-finish line.

With 25 minutes to go, Vandoorne had established a handy lead over Sims and Wehrlein.

Maximillian Guenther was a distant fourth with early race leader Nato fifth following by his Swiss team-mate, Edoardo Mortara.

Rowland, Buemi, Mitch Evans, and Antonio Felix Da Costa completed the top 10.

While Vandoorne stretched his leg out in front, team-mate Nyck De Vries was surging through the field and into the top 10.

His charge got him up to ninth, but with a little over 20 minutes to go, he locked up and flew down an escape road.

Vandoorne looked unlikely to be challenged late in the piece having established a five-second lead over Sims.

However, the ex-Formula 1 driver wouldn’t get an easy passage through to the chequered flag as Rene Rast crashed heavily, capping off a horror weekend for the Audi Sport team.

After a brief Safety Car intermission, Vandoorne led the field across the line for the final lap of the race with the field in tow.

Aided by his Fan Boost, Vandoorne would ultimately remain unchallenged.

Sims came across the line in second with Wehrlein third. Mortara would claim fourth while Gunther completed the top five.

Evans was sixth and Da Costa seventh, Buemi eighth, Tom Blomqvist ninth and Nico Muller completing the top 10.

The final lap of the race was punctuated by a three-car crash triggered by De Vries, who careened into the side of championship leader Bird and Rowland.

De Vries and Bird would come to a halt while Rowland spun his car around to take the chequered flag.

The FIA Formula E World Championship continues with another double-header, this time in Spain at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia across April 24-25.

Results: FIA Formula E World Championship Round 4, Rome E-Prix

Pos Num Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 5 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes 23 46’52.603
2 29 Alexander Sims Mahindra Racing 23 46’53.269 0.666 0.666
3 99 Pascal Wehrlein Porsche Team 23 46’54.949 2.346 1.680
4 48 Edoardo Mortara Venturi 23 46’57.621 5.018 2.672
5 28 Maximilian Gunther Andretti Autosport 23 46’57.908 5.305 0.287
6 20 Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing 23 46’58.274 5.671 0.366
7 13 Antonio Felix da Costa Techeetah 23 46’58.736 6.133 0.462
8 23 Sébastien Buemi DAMS 23 47’02.398 9.795 3.662
9 88 Tom Blomqvist NIO Formula E Team 23 47’04.635 12.032 2.237
10 6 Nico Müller Dragon Racing 23 47’05.475 12.872 0.840
11 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah 23 47’08.279 15.676 2.804
12 7 Sergio Sette Camara Dragon Racing 23 47’08.612 16.009 0.333
13 27 Jake Dennis Andretti Autosport 23 47’08.955 16.352 0.343
14 8 Oliver Turvey NIO Formula E Team 23 47’09.737 17.134 0.782
15 36 Andre Lotterer Porsche Team 23 47’10.441 17.838 0.704
16 22 Oliver Rowland DAMS 23 47’13.743 21.140 3.302
17 94 Alex Lynn Mahindra Racing 23 47’30.300 37.697 16.557
18 4 Robin Frijns Virgin Racing 23 47’35.706 43.103 5.406
DNF 10 Sam Bird Jaguar Racing 22 45’13.987 1 Lap 1 Lap
DNF 17 Nyck de Vries Mercedes 22 45’14.812 1 Lap 0.825
DNF 37 Nick Cassidy Virgin Racing 21 43’18.503 2 Laps 1 Lap
DNF 33 René Rast Team Abt 19 36’33.173 4 Laps 2 Laps
DNF 11 Lucas di Grassi Team Abt 7 13’35.923 16 Laps 12 Laps
DNF 71 Norman Nato Venturi 23 46’54.681 2.078 33’18.758

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