Nick Cassidy has finished on the podium for the second time in as many races, making a last-lap pass on teammate Mitch Evans to claim third in the opening race at the Diriyah E-Prix this morning.
Defending champion Jake Dennis claimed his first win of the season in commanding fashion, coming home 13.3 seconds ahead of runner-up Jean-Eric Vergne, who battled with a severe lack of energy over the final laps.
Evans was running third and applying pressure to Vergne until the final circuit when he attempted a pass that failed to stick, allowing Cassidy and former teammate Sam Bird through and leaving the Jaguar TCS Racing veteran to settle for fifth.
Vergne had started the race from pole, topping Evans in the final duel by .072 seconds, leaving the Kiwi to start from second ahead of Dennis, whom he had beaten in his semi-final, and Sergio Sette Camara.
Cassidy qualified seventh, losing out to his teammate in the quarter-finals after finishing fourth in his group stage outing, which Evans had topped. It was the fourth time in the past five races the Kiwis have faced off in qualifying duels.
Vergne started well from the pole, while Evans came under pressure from Sette Camara, holding his position by bringing Dennis, who began poorly, back into the equation.
Evans took the lead on Lap 3 when Vergne took his first attack mode, relinquishing his position a lap later when he followed suit, which put Dennis to the front.
The defending champion put a small gap on the field before utilising his first allotment, and once he did, he only fell behind the pole-sitter, jumping Evans in the process.
The front three pulled clear over the opening stages, and Dennis took the lead on Lap 9. On using his finEvans took second on Lap 12 when using his final attack mode and attempted a move for the lead on Dennis two tours later, but ran out of extra power at the exit of Turn 18, running wide which allowed the leader back through.
From here, the Andretti driver was never challenged, pulling a gap that continued to grow until the chequered flag.
Vergne re-took second on Lap 16 of the 37-lap race when Evans ran wide defending at Turn 18.
Further back, Cassidy and Bird had reduced the gap to the leading trio. Cassidy emerged behind Evans, and the two Jaguar TCS Racing teammates worked together to protect Cassidy when he used his two attack modes.
Turn 18 again proved Evans’ undoing on the final lap as he attempted a move up the inside to take second off an energy-depleted Vergne. He would run wide, which saw Cassidy push through for a podium, followed by Bird.
Mexico City E-Prix winner Pascal Wehrlein could only manage eighth but retains the championship lead by a sole point over Cassidy, who holds a two-point advantage over Vergne.
Having finished fifth in both races this season, Evans sits in the same place in the championship standings, 12 points behind Wehrlein.
Jaguar TCS Racing now holds a healthy 14-point advantage over Andretti in the Teams’ Championship.
Formula E returns for Race 2 of the Diriyah E-Prix tomorrow, with qualifying at 1.00 am and the race at 5.00 am. Both sessions will be shown live on Sky Sport.