Nick Cassidy has claimed his best-ever Formula E result, while Mitch Evans failed to finish a hectic wet conclusion to the first Formula E race in Valencia.
The majority of the field failed to miscalculate the race length, meaning almost every car started the final lap with zero per cent energy.
Only 12 cars reached the chequered flag. Some crawled to such a limp on the final lap that they officially finished over four minutes behind race winner Nyck de Vries despite being on the same lap.
Five safety cars affected the race. The circuit’s gravel traps meant drivers would beach themselves almost immediately if they skated off the track.
The final caution period waved in the dying stages. That left just 20 seconds on the clock as erstwhile race leader Antonio Felix da Costa made his way towards the start/finish line.
With Formula E races 45 minutes plus one lap, da Costa restarted the race with still a fraction of time remaining.
Hence, instead of the one-lap sprint everyone had predicted, there were two laps still to go.
To add to the confusion, the battery in every car still had nearly 40 per cent of charge left. However, as each car is restricted to use just 52kW per race, most of the field crawled to a halt on the final lap.
Nick Cassidy had started tenth and was a handful of drivers to manage their energy usage appropriately.
The Envision Virgin driver entered the final lap with one of the highest amounts of energy remaining. When everyone else ran out ahead of him, Cassidy capitalised and crossed the line in fourth.
“That was a crazy race with a lot going on but we felt if we kept out of trouble and stuck to our game plan that the race would come to us – although I doubt anyone could have predicted that finish,” Cassidy said.
“For me, it’s great to get a good result under my belt as it’s felt like it’s been coming, and really hope I can continue this momentum into Sunday’s race.”
Starting 17th, Evans climbed seven places in the early stages of the race before having an accident with Sergio Sette Câmara with 15 minutes on the clock. That forced Evans to retire.
Evans now slips down to fifth in the championship due to his crash. But he is still in touch with the leaders.
De Vries and Mercedes came out on top in the wild finish. The Dutch driver had not led a lap until the final tour as da Costa had dominated the race until that point.
Nico Muller, who had started 22nd, was another to pounce on the drama and snare an unlikely second place.
Stoffel Vandoorne rounded out the podium placings.
There will be one more race around the Valencia circuit tonight, with coverage set to begin at 11 pm NZT.
|1||Nyck de Vries||48m20.547s|
|7||António Félix da Costa||+1m09.538s|
|10||Lucas Di Grassi||+2m11.946s|
|Sérgio Sette Câmara||DNF|