Cassidy wins in tight Portland Formula E battle
Nick Cassidy took the inaugural Portland E-Prix victory in a close battle between the top three drivers, beating championship rivals Jake Dennis and Antonio Felix da Costa.
Cassidy leaves Portland one point behind championship leader Dennis going into the final two weekends of the Formula E calendar.
“It’s cool, we had a good run in America in the past couple of years,” said Cassidy.
“Yeah, it’s close. The guys were racing are top, I mean Jake [Dennis] was a reference today, he did an amazing job in quali. I think he was unlucky to start on pole.”
“Antonio [Felix da Costa] in these races, he’s always fantastic. It’s close, it’s fun, it’s Formula E.”
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Pole-sitter Dennis took the lead early, as the two Neom McLaren drivers came through on the inside of Turn 1 to move Rene Rast into third and Jake Hughes in fifth.
Cassidy made his way from his starting spot of tenth on the grid to fifth place by the end of the first lap.
Multiple drivers in the bottom ten took their Attack Mode on Lap 3, including the two DS Penske drivers who started from the pit lane due to a technical breach in Qualifying.
Cassidy made his way into the lead for a short time on Lap 4 but took Attack Mode on the same lap, demoting him to fourth.
Norman Nato was promoted to race leader as a yellow flag on Lap 5 was called due to Roberto Merhi stopping at Turn 9 just after the Attack Mode chicane.
The Safety Car came out on the same lap as Merhi could not get the Mahindra Racing car restarted and needed to be cleared from the track.
Sacha Fenestraz was called into the pit lane at the end of Lap 7 under the Safety Car due to his front wing sustaining damage in an early tangle with his team-mate on the first lap.
He had to fit a new front wing on his Nissan car and returned at the back of the field.
On the restart on Lap 8, all three in the top spots took their Attack Mode meaning Nato kept his lead from TAG Heuer Porsche’s da Costa and Avalanche Andretti’s Dennis.
Nico Muller went off at full speed on the straight before Turn 9 and collided with the wall on Lap 10, saying his ABT Cupra had ‘no brakes’ on the radio to prompt the second Safety Car to retrieve his stricken machine.
Six laps later, Nato was the driver to restart the field in the lead with Cassidy and Maximillian Gunther behind him.
Nato took his Attack Mode alongside Gunther on Lap 17, letting Cassidy and da Costa through into the lead.
The pack was tightly bunched through the next laps, on Lap 20 the front pack went six-wide into the first corner allowing the Jaguar TCS Racing drivers of Sam Bird and Evans moving into third and fourth.
Da Costa moved into the lead on Lap 22 ahead of Cassidy at Turn 1 and with more energy than the drivers behind him, he fought to make a gap during the race’s closing stages.
The 28-lap race had four extra laps added due to the two Safety Car periods.
Cassidy took back the lead on Lap 27 on the pit straight and only half a second separated the top three.
Dennis and da Costa swapped second place during the last four laps in their battle, but da Costa had to settle for third as Dennis took second at the final corners of the race.
Cassidy was able to keep his lead over the two and now has 153 points to his name in the standings, only one point behind Dennis who has 154 points.
Evans took home fourth and Cassidy’s team-mate Sebastien Buemi finished fifth.
Next, Formula E heads to Rome for a double header weekend on July 15-16.