BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Jake Dennis produced the perfect balance of pace and energy management to take a lights-to-flag race win in the DHL Valencia E-Prix Round 6 at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo - his first in Formula E.
Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) produced a perfectly poised drive in the DHL Valencia E-Prix Round 6 to take a measured maiden win in Formula E, heading home Porsche's Andre Lotterer and Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn.
The 25-year-old led lights-to-flag - a tough task given the Circuit Ricardo Tormo's high-speed nature and its energy management demands.
With the focus on managing usable energy, the majority of the 24 drivers looked to play the long game and make their progress during ATTACK MODE and towards the end of the encounter where those who'd looked after their usable energy most effectively tried to make it count.
Dennis held fast and even managed a 1.5-second gap to Lotterer to the chequered flag, while the Porsche driver broke his duck to notch his first podium, and maiden points, of Season 7.
Lynn had looked to sit right underneath the rear diffuser of Dennis' iFE.21 through the encounter and ran second for the majority, until a nudge from Norman Nato (ROKiT Venturi Racing) sent the Mahindra driver into the gravel and sliding down the order. Lynn's strong energy management meant a late recovery charge and a well-earned debut podium appearance.
Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams) made up a handful of spots with a collected drive to fourth, and while Nato was fifth on track, he incurred a five-second penalty for that move on Lynn, meaning Rene Rast (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) wound up with a nine-place gain - storming through the top half of the pack from 14th on the grid.
Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) came home seventh, NIO 333's Oliver Turvey slipped to eighth having run as high as second but will still be happy with good points while Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) rounded out the top 10.
None of the Drivers' standings top five scored points, with the majority starting well down the order as a drying track benefitted the later runners in qualifying. Even so, Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) heads teammate Stoffel Vandoorne and Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing) and Mercedes hold onto their advantage in the Teams' running.
Dennis fired off the line to retain the lead and Lynn followed. The first quarter of the race proved cagey, with drivers looking to maximise their time in the slipstream and manage their usable energy rather than play their hand.
Sergio Sette Camara (DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT) was an early mover, with an elbows-out pass on Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) for 10th on Lap 4, and then on reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) for ninth spot on the next tour. Frenchman Vergne spied his opportunity to pinch fifth from Blomqvist and duly took it, having made up a spot on the opening lap by squeezing by Lotterer.
Nobody wanted to blink first and make that first jump through the ATTACK MODE activation zone as the whole field, save for Mahindra’s Alexander Sims who’d served an earlier penalty for a technical infringement, was split by just 11 seconds.
On Lap 11, the majority of the front-runners made their move for a first dose of the 35kW boost.
Dennis and Lynn pulled a second on the pack, while Turvey started to slip, with Nato, Lotterer and Vergne able to slice by to take third, fourth and fifth - demoting the NIO driver to sixth.
It looked like leader Dennis had played a blinder as he retained the lead through the first round of ATTACK MODE. The rookie was also able to match the rest in terms of energy consumption, despite having to the hard work of cutting through the air at the front of the field.
Rene Rast (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) started 14th on the grid and had been quietly carving his way through the pack. A nudge from Nato on Lynn yielded second for the Frenchman but sent the Mahindra driver into the gravel and down the order to eighth, meaning Rast could further profit. The German provisionally sat third and in a podium position until ATTACK MODE number two for Lotterer helped him by his compatriot to take that position back. With that, Nato found himself second on-track, with a five-second time penalty.
Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne was busily scrapping his way up the order, too. On Lap 20, he met Buemi in 10th spot with points in his sights but at Turn 10, the pair caught one-another in contact and the Belgian came off worst, with terminal damage forcing his retirement from the race.
Energy management came to the fore as the clock ticked down. Dennis’ engineer radioed to tell the leader to lose a second through the final sector to ensure a flat-out final lap rather than an energy-conservative two-lap run as the clock ticked down.
Dennis retained his composure to manage things perfectly all the way to the chequered flag, with Lotterer coming home second and Lynn recovering to third.
Published on 25th April 2021