Seven things we learned in the first Cape Town E-Prix

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Seven things we learned in the first Cape Town E-Prix

Formula E raced on the streets of South Africa for the first time, hosting the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix. It was certainly an unforgettable event with edge-of-your-seat racing, championship rivals in trouble and the fastest lap in Formula E history.

cape town podium da costa

Porsche power wins again

TAG Heuer Porsche once again found themselves on the podium's top step, with Porsche powertrains now responsible for four of the five victories so far in GEN3. However, it was not championship leader Pascal Wehrlein who locked in another win, but instead, his highly experienced teammate, Antonio Felix da Costa.

The Season 6 Formula E champ, who joined the iconic German manufacturer for the new generation of the all-electric championship, was very emotional as he crossed the finish line in first place. "What a journey," he said after the E-Prix. 

Another win for Porsche this season puts them on 126 championship points in the Teams' Standings, with second-place Envision Racing on 84 points, a whopping 42 points difference just five races into the season.  

Fastest ever Formula E lap 

Heading into the Cape Town E-Prix weekend, it was no secret that this 2.921km street circuit would be quick. However, Nissan's Sacha Fenestraz took things to another level when he broke a Formula E record and set the fastest lap the championship has ever seen - make sure to watch that high-speed lap in full!

Averaging a speed of 154.987 km/h, the French-Argentine driver stormed his way to his first Julius Baer Pole Position, beating Maserati MSG Racing's Maximilian Guenther in the Duels Final. He also became the second-youngest pole sitter in Formula E's history and got Nissan their first pole since Puebla Season 7.

Unfortunately for Sacha, a tangle on the last lap with Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) meant he lost out on his first Formula E podium and was eventually classified last. 

Ticktum's best result and more points for NIO

NIO 333 has entered the GEN3 era with their most competitive package in several seasons. With a strong lineup of Dan Ticktum and Sergio Sette Camara, they are targeting eighth in the standings. 


Ticktum, in his second season with the NIO team, recorded his best career result, crossing the chequered flag in sixth position. Describing his Cape Town E-Prix as "the most I have concentrated for a given amount of time for a long time", he picks up eight championship points for the team. 

It's another great result following Sette Camara's fifth place from Hyderabad earlier this month. NIO are currently eighth in the teams' standings, a place they have stated they want to finish once Season 9 ends. 

ATTACK MODE can still catch you out

Since the introduction of ATTACK MODE in Season 5, it is still a hugely tactical part of the race. The power boost, mandatory for all drivers, is activated by driving over three sensors on the marked track surface. Miss just one of them, and you must go off the racing line on the next lap and try again. 

You would think that with five seasons of practice, drivers would be able to ace ATTACK MODE every time. However, that wasn't true for race winner Antonio Felix da Costa.

da costa cape town attack mode

As the only driver with ATTACK MODE left to take, the Porsche driver ran over the designated area to activate the one minute of boost remaining. However, he missed it. With only a handful of laps remaining and DS PENSKE's Jean-Eric Vergne now breathing down his neck, da Costa had to try again and lost the lead to Vergne in the process. 

With the likes of Kelvin van der Linde (ABT CUPRA) saying the mistake had "lost him the race", the Porsche driver managed to send his way past Vergne on the last lap to take the victory. 

Sensational overtake for the lead... twice

Antonio Felix da Costa wasn't letting anyone take a potential victory away from him in Cape Town. After making a nail-biting pass on Nick Cassidy for the lead of the race on Lap 24, he pulled the same outrageous overtake on Vergne in a move that will go down in Formula E history.

 What a moment! 

Championship rivals leave Cape Town pointless

Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) and Avalanche Andretti's Jake Dennis are the drivers who have found themselves in the top two of the championship since the first round in Mexico City.

Although they've switched themselves around since then, after Wehrlein did the double and won both races in Diriyah, they have remained comfortably ahead of the grid so far this season in the driver standings. 

However, that points lead is slowly becoming smaller and smaller, as both Wehrlein and Dennis left the fifth round with no points whatsoever. 


Wehrlein made a big mistake on the opening lap of the E-Prix, outbraking himself and driving up the back end of Sebastien Buemi's Envision car. As a result, he was done and out of the race and lost his record of being the only driver to score points in every race this season.

As for Dennis, he received a drive-through penalty for "not respecting minimum tyre pressure" and would go on to finish 13th - his second consecutive race where he scored no championship points. 

Mahindra miss out

One of the biggest headlines from the weekend was four cars being withdrawn from the Cape Town E-Prix after Mahindra had safety concerns over their rear suspension. The Mahindra cars of Oliver Rowland and Lucas di Grassi couldn't take part, with the same for ABT CUPRA, a customer team with cars belonging to Nico Müller and Kelvin van der Linde. 

Season 3 champion, di Grassi, tweeted his disappointment at the news, stating that he was "very sad" to miss his first Formula E race due to the issues. The problem also prevented van der Linde from racing in front of his home crowd. 

As well as the four Mahindra-powered cars not starting the E-Prix, Jaguar TCS Racing's Sam Bird also failed to make the grid after a crash in qualifying damaged the chassis of his car, which couldn't be repaired in time. 

Next up is another new location, as all-electric racing heads to South America for the first-ever race in Brazil: the Julius Baer Sao Paulo E-Prix on Saturday 25 March.