Cassidy had already taken third spot in the season-opening Mexico City E-Prix and followed that up with the same result in Round 2 from Diriyah yesterday before pushing at just the right time in Saturday's encounter to hit the front and stay there, amid pressure from second-placed Robin Frijns (Envision Racing) and Oliver Rowland (Nissan) - the polesitter, who ended the race third.
Frijns flew off the line to steal the lead into the first corner from Rowland, but Cassidy had enough pace and efficiency in his Jaguar I-TYPE 6 to stick with the top two and pick his way through the first round of ATTACK MODE activations and take top spot.
Once he had the advantage, Cassidy was able to retain it during his second mandatory 50kW ATTACK MODE boost having built up a 2.5-second cushion. From there, he never looked back and managed things perfectly to the chequered flag, despite Frijns and Rowland being no more than a second behind him for the final quarter of the race. Frijns sealed a return to the podium, with his last trip coming in New York City two seasons ago, while Rowland notched his first rostrum since Seoul in Season 8.
NICK CASSIDY WINS IN DIRIYAH! 🇸🇦— Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) January 27, 2024
🖤🤍 On his 50th Formula E race, @NickCassidy_ catapults himself to a sizeable lead in the Drivers’ Championship with a HUGE win in the #DiriyahEPrix Round 3! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/YQTozvCl9p
Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren) matched his teammate's result from Round 2 to cross the line in fourth - a career best - at the site of his maiden pole in Formula E. Season 8 title-winner Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) finished fifth for the fifth time in Diriyah, just ahead of the second Nissan of Sacha Fenestraz - both cars inside the top six for the Japanese marque having scored no points this season prior to Round 3.
Prior standings leader and Mexico City winner Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) wound up seventh, making progress from 10th on the grid to a currently unmatched 14-race scoring streak. Double champion Jean-Eric Vergne (DS PENSKE) followed in eighth, Maximilian Guenther (Maserati MSG Racing) ninth and reigning champion Jake Dennis (Andretti) managing only 10th and a bonus point for the fastest lap after a disastrous qualifying session - by his own admission - saw him miss out on the Duels.
All that sees Cassidy jump to a chunky 18-point lead in the Drivers' World Championship from Wehrlein with Vergne third and Dennis fourth. Jaguar TCS Racing holds a 29-point advantage in the Teams' table over DS PENSKE.
Formula E returns for Round 4 of Season 10 in Sao Paulo on 16 March.
As it happened...
Rowland led off the line but it was three wide into Turn 1, with Frijns getting the jump on the Nissan driver to steal P1 into the first corner.
After a cagey opening five laps, Rowland, Vandoorne and Hughes were the the first to jump for their initial of two mandatory 50kW ATTACK MODE boosts - Rowland losing second position on-track. Leader Frijns took two minutes' ATTACK MODE on the following lap and held off the Nissan driver to retain the lead. Rowland wasted no time in taking his second 50kW boost, as soon as his first two-minute dose expired, he went for his second six-minute activation while holding onto third. Through all that, Cassidy managed to hit the front.
Out-front, Cassidy jumped through the activation zone on Lap 8 having built up enough of a lead to hold onto P1. Frijns followed in second with Rowland third from Vandoorne, Hughes and rookie Daruvala rounding out the top six.
On Lap 10, a little further back, Sam Bird (NEOM McLaren) continued his forward progress from 12th on the grid at lights out with a textbook move on Sette Camara for ninth at Turn 18.
It looked strong for Cassidy out-front with a lead of some 1.6 seconds while Frijns behind was complaining of overconsumption of energy as he tried to hang on to the lead Jaguar. The front two had pulled five seconds on Rowland in third by Lap 12 but Cassidy did still have his second ATTACK MODE activation left to take.
Lap 13 saw the Kiwi take that final 50kW boost and retain the lead as he'd drawn out 2.5 seconds on Frijns behind - the Envision Racing driver still complaining he was having to use more energy than he'd hope to keep with the leader in the factory Jaguar.
Having qualified down in the pack, 13th and 14th respectively, Evans and Dennis had only made up a place apiece by Lap 15, with moves by Sette Camara one after another at Turn 18 and the final corner.
Cassidy's advantage at the head of the field had been quietly ebbing away despite that early push, and by Lap 17 Frijns was right with the Jaguar, hassling him for the lead while clawing some usable energy back in the slipstream of the I-TYPE 6 ahead.
A battle between Bird in seventh and Wehrlein in eighth went the way of the German as Bird eyed Fenestraz's sixth spot. An over-keen move at Turn 18 left the NEOM McLaren driver fighting oversteer and losing ground and his position to the TAG Heuer Porsche who was waiting in the wings. From there, it went from bad to worse - Brit Bird hitting the wall, bringing his race to a premature end.
More progress followed for Wehrlein as he chased Vergne up the road for a net seventh - making it by the DS PENSKE driver at Turn 1 with relative ease. Good stuff from the pre-race standings leader, who had started 10th.
On Lap 25 it was nose-to-tail with the leaders, with only three seconds between Cassidy, Frijns, Rowland, Hughes, Vandoorne and Fenestraz and 11 laps left to run. From there, the top six had a straight fight to the finish and only four seconds now split the top 10 runners and 0.8 seconds between the then-podium trio.
That, though, was that. The top six led home as you were, with Cassidy taking his maiden victory for the factory Jaguar squad.