Wehrlein dominates first race of Jakarta weekend
Pascal Wehrlein has won his third Formula E-Prix of the 2023 season in Jakarta by less than half a second to Jake Dennis and Maximilian Gunther.
The first race of the double-header in Jakarta posed a shorter contest over 36 laps of which TAG Heuer Porsche’s Wehrlein led more than half of, using an early Attack Mode strategy to take the victory.
“It feels awesome obviously. Qualifying was much better than other races already. I was leading the whole race pretty much, defended well and happy to be back on top,” said Wehrlein.
“Looking forward to tomorrow. The last couple of races we were not where we wanted to be.
“Big turnaround for us in the last couple of weeks, but still a long way to go.”
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Pole-sitter Gunther continued his Jakarta domination, leading into Turn 1 with ease ahead of Dennis.
Wehrlein immediately challenged Dennis into Turn 1 and Vandoorne, who started from sixth, slid his way into third past the Avalanche Andretti driver.
Sebastien Buemi fell to the back of the field after stalling on the grid at the start, getting away slowly in 21st place and forced to use his Attack Mode early on Lap 2.
Wehrlein took the lead on Lap 4, passing Gunther at Turn 1, while Vandoorne used his Attack Mode on the same lap, which moved him back into fifth place.
This promoted Dennis and Vandoorne’s DS Penske team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne to third and fourth respectively.
On Lap 5, Wehrlein used his Attack Mode which left Gunther to take back the lead, but the Maserati MSG driver followed #94’s strategy on the next lap, which swapped the top two again.
Nick Cassidy, who still leads the Formula E championship by two points after Wehrlein’s victory, started from 10th place and made up three positions by Lap 7 to seventh.
The top two continued to swap positions, after both taking their allocated Attack Mode early in the race but it was Wehrlein who came out on top to lead into Lap 13.
Behind them, Dennis mounted a challenge for the race win, taking his six minutes of Attack Mode on Lap 16 with a later strategy to fight the top two.
He went wheel to wheel down the inside of Vandoorne at Turn 1 on Lap 17, making through into the last podium spot.
Lap 20 saw contact between Cassidy and Mortara at Turn 1 whilst battling for sixth place and a similar manoeuvre between Dennis and Gunther, without the contact, saw #27 move through into second on the next lap.
With 14 laps to go, the Avalanche Andretti car of Dennis was less than 0.252s behind Wehrlein, looking for a challenge and mounted an overtake on Lap 24 at Turn 1.
He made his way to the outside of the TAG Heuer Porsche driver but was not able to make the move stick while Gunther, from third place, made his way on the outside to join the fight.
Yet Wehrlein was able to narrowly hold on to his first place whilst Vandoorne in fourth also joined the battle as less than half-a-second separated the top four.
Rene Rast spun on Lap 32 due to his own mistake at the exit of Turn 1 but continued, finishing just inside the points in 10th.
A yellow flag was brought out in Sector 1 on Lap 34 as Mitch Evans made contact with his Jaguar TCS Racing team-mate Sam Bird into Turn 1, being spun around and stopping in the runoff.
On the race’s final lap, Dennis was unable to challenge for the win, leaving him in second and Gunther third.
The DS Penske team-mates Vandoorne and Vergne rounded out the top five.
The Jakarta E-Prix weekend continues tomorrow with Round 11, Free Practice 3 starting at 11:05 AEDT/08:05 local time.