Venturi's Mortara snatches win in second Diriyah E-Prix


Eduardo Mortara claimed his third career win in Formula E in Saturday's second round of racing in Diriyah, the Venturi driver leading the field across the finish line after a late safety car period neutralized the race.

Behind the Swiss driver, Envision's Robin Frijns came in second while Lucas di Grassi made it a double podium for the ROKiT Venturi Racing team.

Earlier in the day, Nyck de Vries had offered Mercedes a 100 per cent success rate in qualifying in Saudi Arabia by pipping Mortara to pole by a mere 0.005s.

The Dutchman held his own at the start to lead Mortara, Frijns, di Grassi and Porsche's Andre Lotterer.

Frijns was the first driver among the front-runners to peel off for an Attack Mode activation, but positions remained unchanged after Frijns and di Grassi had followed suit.

On lap 12, the Brazilian indulged in an early second activation, as did Frijns a lap later and then Mortara. But de Vries deferred his second charge up which put him in the clutches of di Grassi who attempted to one over on the Mercedes driver into Turn 18 only to make contact with his rival at the chicane.

However, the Venturi driver pressed on and forced his way past de Vries. One lap later, it was Mortara's turn to overtake the reigning FE champion who was down on energy relative to his rivals and sitting fourth by the time he finally took his second Attack Mode activation.

Up ahead, Mortara reeled in di Grassi and took advantage of his remaining Attack Mode activation to pass his Venturi teammate and take command of proceedings.

As de Vries drifted down the order, Frijns also gained an upper hand of di Grassi to slot into second. But with ten minutes remaining on the clock, Mahindra's Alexander Sims lost control at Turn 6 and hit the wall.

The Briton's evening came to a premature end with the mishap triggering a safety car period to allow for the safe evacuation of the stranded Mahindra.

As the field followed the safety car at a leisurely pace, several drivers were forced to come to a standstill to allow a crane to safely maneuver to remove Sims' car.

Race control then announced that no additional time would be added to the total race time. Oddly, the safety car was called in with just two corners to go, making it a mere formality for Mortara to flash across the finish line, followed by Frijns, di Grassi, Lotterer and Jake Dennis who completed the top five.

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