Pole and podium reward for "blood, sweat and tears" says NEOM McLaren's James

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Pole and podium reward for "blood, sweat and tears" says NEOM McLaren's James

NEOM McLaren have flown out of the gates in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with Diriyah Rounds 2 & 3 the site of its first Julius Baer Pole Position and podium in the series.

Jake Hughes Diriyah

Team Principal Ian James said the team has put in "blood, sweat and tears" in the lead up to McLaren's first season in Formula E - and its paying dividends already with Rene Rast taking to the podium, following up on Jake Hughes' storming qualifying efforts in Diriyah.

Race one threw up fifth and eighth for Hughes and Rast, with energy management proving to be a bit of a challenge towards the end of the race - the Brit having stuck his car on the front row of the grid in qualifying after a stunning Duels performance.

READ MORE: Diriyah in numbers

The second race of the weekend will be one that goes down in the history books for the Bicester-based outfit, with Rast steering to his third podium in the championship, having led the team's first laps, while Hughes went one better than he had the day before to take Julius Baer Pole Position.

Rast Diriyah (2)

While the rookie couldn't quite convert in the race, Rast had no such issue. The German jumped Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) and his teammate through ATTACK MODE and the multiple DTM champion making use of every trick in the book to hold off the advances of Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) for a spot on the podium.

READ MORE: Five things we learned in Diriyah

"That was a fight until the very last corner," said Rast. "I'm super happy - especially compared to where I was in Mexico, where I didn't finish with any points. We can be very proud of what the team achieved. We're still learning and hopefully we can apply that to Hyderabad.

"It was a fantastic day and not an easy race, however I did lead some laps - which was cool. I had to manage my energy during the race which proved tricky. I knew the other drivers had more energy and at the end I was battling Sam (Bird) who definitely had more than me."

Hughes: 'I can't wait for Hyderabad'

Hughes might be waiting for his first trip to the podium but it definitely isn't a million miles away. His qualifying average is better than anybody else's, and he's scored in every race so far in his rookie campaign - consistency reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) would be proud of.

ANALYSIS: How Hughes took his maiden Formula E pole

"It was a great weekend," said the 28-year-old. "I'm super happy securing pole in my third race - I didn't think we quite had what it took in the Duels and we managed to get P2 for race one and pole for Round 3.

"Heading into the race we had the expectation we wouldn't be racing the Porsches and our goal was, on a good day, to be fighting the Jaguars. In the end, we both finished ahead of them."

Diriyah Round 3 podium Rast celebrates McLarens first in Formula E

James: 'What a phenomenal weekend'

"What a weekend, and what a day Saturday was," said Team Principal Ian James. "We had both cars showing great one-lap pace... and secured our first pole. It was simply outstanding for Jake and the team in delivering a car capable of this performance. Rene did a great job too, for third on the grid.

"From there, we were in a great position to do well in the race. It was always going to be a tough fight - especially having seen the pace of some of our competitors in Mexico City and in Diriyah earlier in the weekend.

"Jake held on well and Rene got away well and was always in the fight for a podium. The race ended dramatically but both our drivers were excellent in extracting the best out of the package for our first podium and the first for our powertrain supplier, Nissan, in GEN3 with Rene.

"Doing all that at the home race of our title partner NEOM makes it all the more special. It's a great start to the season, thanks to all the blood, sweat and tears the team put in day in, day out. This is for them!"