Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) starts on Julius Baer Pole Position on home turf at the SABIC London E-Prix Round 13, having produced the goods in some style in front of a vocal home support.
Dennis was up on fellow finalist and standings leader Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) after the first couple of corners and had earlier flown to the fastest laps in each of the Groups and knockout stages up to this point.
By the middle of the lap the Brit, backed by strong home crowd, made big ground and two tenths of a second on Vandoorne. The Belgian was on the limit but it wasn’t enough to outdo Dennis.
The first ever Duels Final back in Diriyah saw Vandoorne face Dennis, with Vandoorne coming out on top that time around but the Andretti man made amends here in some style.
Vandoorne still holds the cards in the title fight, though, with his nearest rival Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) down in ninth having failed to progress from the groups, Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) 13th and Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) a spot behind in 14th.
"It's amazing," said the 27-year-old. "That's one of the best things about obviously racing In Formula E - if you do a good job, you can hear the crowd. I've had such a good day - first in practice, through to all the Qualifying Duels and then to go head to head with Stoffel in the end was tight. It was incredible and honestly, the cars been absolutely amazing today. We made a really good step forward from yesterday and to get the team that first pole this year is exceptional."
Vandoorne vs Sette Camara opened the Semis, and it was a one-sided affair with the Silver Arrow 02 looking hooked up something super. The Brazilian battled back through the middle sector but lost that ground back in Sector 3 – a top effort and a quick lap in itself, just not enough to undo the Drivers’ World Championship leader.
Dennis and de Vries battled next. Dennis had looked strong in practice, groups and the quarters – topping the timesheets along the way. The Brit likes it around the ExCeL and drew out some three tenths of a second come the chequered flag – a 1m13 flat again the fastest time of the day so far.
Lotterer squared off against Vandoorne first off, and the Belgian produced the goods in a big way on a 1m13.528s – some four tenths up on the Porsche driver who will start eighth.
Sette Camara was next to set the timesheets alight – the DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT driver two tenths quicker than Vandoorne had just gone as he dispatched Askew to progress; the American will line up fifth.
De Vries and Cassidy were next up. The reigning champion swooping through to the Semis by a comfortable margin on the Envision Racing driver, who clipped the wall at Turn 13. Neat and tidy from the Dutchman, while Cassidy starts seventh.
Dennis followed up on a group-topping lap to smash Guenther on the way to the Semis with the fastest effort of the Quarters. Some marker from the Brit, who won here last year. Gunther will take sixth.
Mitch Evans paid for an error that cost him two seconds on his final quick run. The Jaguar TCS Racing driver wouldn’t make the cut while standings leader Vandoorne topped Group A from Sette Camara, Cassidy and di Grassi. Evans will line up 14th with some work to do.
“It’s unfortunate. On Mitch’s first lap, Lucas really blocked Mitch through the chicane which put all the pressure on the second run. It put all the pressure on there and we can’t let that kind of thing happen – you must have equal opportunity. It put us on the back foot. We won’t give up and we’ll keep on pushing. There’s a long race and we’ll try to make the best of it. We’ll try and get points.”
Lucas di Grassi had made the cut in Group A but saw his times cancelled for impeding Evans, relegating him to the back of the pack and promoting Guenther through to his Duels appearance of the season.
Mortara was a couple of tenths of a second away through the first half of the lap which proved costly as the second-placed man in the standings also failed to make the cut - the Swiss starts ninth, it could have been far worse. Neither did Vergne, who sits 13th on the grid – advantage Vandoorne, in a big way – the only one of the top four to make it to the Duels. Dennis headed the way from de Vries, Askew and Lotterer – a good showing for the Brit after he topped FP2 earlier, and that’s both Avalanche Andrettis through to the knockout stages.
Published on 30th July 2022
5 min read