Formula E makes its way back to the Eternal City for the fifth season and its seventh race in the Italian capital city at the Circuito Cittadino dell-EUR.
Four drivers representing four teams and two marques, Jaguar and Porsche, are split by just 32 points - well inside the total on offer over two races in Rome, set to get underway at 15:00 on both Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July.
As it stands...
Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) heads the way in the customer Porsche 99X Electric GEN3 by a solitary point over race winner last time out Nick Cassidy in his Envision Racing-run Jaguar I-TYPE 6.
The Brit's drive to third in Portland, on home soil for Andretti, was enough to see him top. TAG Heuer Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein, the prior standings leader, struggled to 10th and a single point for his efforts on Formula E's first visit to Oregon - this despite a return to form with a win in Jakarta - his first since Round 3 back in Diriyah.
Silverware for Dennis meant, incredibly, that he's made the podium in two-thirds of races in Season 9, which is by far the best record of any of those in and around him in the standings. It's a streak of five trips up the rostrum steps in-a-row, too, for the Andretti driver - little wonder he's the driver with the target on his back ahead of Rome.
In the Teams’ standings, TAG Heuer Porsche have clung on to their lead but only six points separate them from Envision Racing in second place. Jaguar TCS Racing is just behind Envision, their customer team, in third place.
Last time out: overtaking overload and Formula E's fastest yet
Portland proved a spectacular race weekend with an enthralling battle for top spot heading to the wire, after some 403 overtakes in Round 12.
Cassidy was able once again to clamber through the pack, this time from 10th on the grid to the top step - the third occasion he's cracked open the winners' Moet & Chandon from further back than 8th position at lights out in 2022/23.
The Kiwi measured his drive perfectly in a masterful game of racing chess - something which he and Envision Racing are proving expert at at the beginning of the GEN3 era. He made up a handful of positions over the opening laps and from there, he made giant leaps to find himself in the lead - losing it briefly before retaking P1 for the win while Antonio Felix da Costa and Dennis squabbled for second and third, respectively.
Cassidy once again played a masterful game of racing chess to make up a handful of positions on the first few laps. From there, he lept through the pack and past his rivals to find himself in the lead. Although losing it briefly to the TAG Heuer Porsche of Antonio Felix da Costa, he kept his cool and took the place back to win the race.
The circuit threw up the fastest top speed we've seen in Formula E history - the third occasion this record has fallen this season and each at new circuits to the calendar, after Sao Paulo and Cape Town. Mitch Evans' 276.6km/h (171.9mph) top speed makes the Jaguar TCS Racing driver the 'fastest' in Formula E history.
A double winner in 2022
Speaking of Evans, the Jaguar driver is still firmly in the hunt, just 32 points back from Dennis in the standings. Nobody is more successful in Rome than the Kiwi who has three wins to his name there, including two back-to-back in Season 8 - a rare feat.
Evans was forced into parking his I-TYPE 6 ahead of quali in Portland, meaning he had it all to do from 20th on the grid. The Kiwi wouldn't be beaten, though, as he went on to salvage fourth and vital championship points.
His speed this year and his Rome record surely mean he'll be one of the strongest shouts to hammer home a title charge this coming weekend.
Maserati MSG Racing drivers Maximilian Guenther and Edoardo Mortara will be certain of passionate support in the grandstands this weekend as the iconic Italian automotive racing brand competes at home as a team in single-seater world championship motorsport for the first time since 1957. Juan Manuel Fangio took to the podium in Monza then and heading off the back of a first win for the marque since that same year at the hands of Fangio, Guenther will be hoping to replicate his Jakarta drive on home soil for Maserati.
The brand is also set to shout about its all-new GranTurismo Folgore EV at the event, with a show on Friday by the Palazzo di Congressi.
A drivers' favourite
The 19-turn 3.385km Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR is among Formula E's longest and takes in the city's Palazzo dei Congressi, Piazzale Marconi and the iconic Palazzo della Civilta Italiana, also known as the "Square Coliseum" while Ninfeo Park skirts the track.
It's a perfect mix of high-speed runs and tight, complex sections and undulations with plenty of opportunities for overtaking at the hairpin and some 90-degree bends - peak Formula E and a big favourite of the drivers.
Formula E’s broadcast coverage will feature Tom Brooks, the voice of Gran Turismo, who will commentate of Formula E races for the first time this weekend. Brooks has a wide range of motorsport experience covering everything from Superbikes to Rallycross.
Action gets underway with Free Practice 1 on Friday from 17:00 local time, with Free Practice 2 from 08:10 on Saturday 15 July. Qualifying follows at 10:40 and Round 13 itself starts at 15:00.
Round 14 comes a day later with Free Practice 3 from 08:10 local, qualifying at 10:40 and the race once again at 15:00.
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