Nick Cassidy has finished third on debut for Jaguar TCS Racing in this morning’s Mexico City E-Prix, behind only winner Pascal Wehrlein and former Envision teammate Sebastien Buemi.
A defensive drive from teammate Mitch Evans brought a fifth-placed finish, having held off a persistent challenge from DS Penske’s Jean-Eric Vergne over the race’s second half.
Cassidy also set the fastest lap of the race, securing a championship bonus point as a result.
Both Kiwis had set themselves up for a strong E-Prix through good qualifying results, having progressed to the duels’ semi-finals to lock out the second row. However, Evans was served with a grid penalty for failing to return to the garage under red during Saturday’s FP1 and started fifth.
Wehrlein, the runner-up from last year’s event, qualified on pole, topping Buemi in the final. Evans’ relegation promoted Maximilian Gunther to the second row next to Cassidy.
A lockup at Turn 5 for defending champion Jake Dennis in group stage qualifying saw him left in 14th on the grid.
Both Kiwis got away well, with Cassidy holding fourth and Evans fifth, as Wehrlein took the lead off the start but was passed by Buemi several laps later.
Early incidents in the mid-field for Sergio Sette Camara, Lucas di Grassi, Nico Muller and Antonio Felix da Costa had little effect on proceedings but saw all, except Muller, forced to retire.
A Safety Car was required on Lap 8 when Envision’s Robin Frijns ran into the Turn 17 wall and was left blocking the track.
On Lap 12’s green, Buemi led Wehrlein, Gunther, Cassidy and Evans, with all five having used an attack mode over the early laps and Cassidy and Wehrlein using their full allotment.
Wehrlein retook the lead towards the end of the lap when Buemi activated his final attack mode, the Envision driver slotting back into second ahead of Gunther.
Evans used his final attack mode on Lap 14 and remained fifth, with Gunther following a lap later and dropping to fourth, behind Cassidy, who jumped into the podium places.
By Lap 21, Evans faced increasing pressure from Vergne, which saw him slowly lose ground on the lead four. Meanwhile, Wehrlein had worked on building a gap over the field and extended his advantage to 2.1 seconds with 10 laps remaining.
Buemi reduced that slightly over the closing stages, but Wehrlein’s advantage was too great, and the Porsche Formula E Team driver came home for a 1.1-second victory.
Cassidy lost slight ground on his former teammate before the chequered flag but had enough of a gap on Gunther to take third on his Jaguar TCS Racing debut.
Gunther finished over seven seconds ahead of Evans, who was forced to persistently defend over the second half of the race to maintain his position, with a large train of cars forming behind.
McLaren’s Jake Hughes was seventh, ahead of Penske’s Stoffel Vandoorne, defending champion Dennis and Norman Nato, the final points scorer.
The FIA Formula E World Championship returns for two races in Saudi Arabia on January 26-27.
Header Image: Sam Bagnall