Berlin E-Prix: Envision's Cassidy flies to victory over Dennis

Nick Cassidy - Envision Racing - Berlin E-Prix - Sunday April 23 2023
© Formula E

New Zealand driver Nick Cassidy claimed victory for Envision Racing in the second E-Prix of the Formula E weekend at Berlin's Tempelhof circuit on Sunday afternoon, his second championship win bringing him emphatically into play in the title battle.

Cassidy finished half a second clear of Andretti's Jake Dennis and DS Penske's Jean-Eric Vergne, with yesterday's winner Mitch Evans surviving a collision with António Félix da Costa to finish just off the podium.

The start of the race was delayed several minutes after protestors gained access to the starting grid and attempted to block the cars from moving forward, until they were removed by security personnel

Nick Cassidy - Envision Racing - Berlin E-Prix - Sunday April 23 2023

© Formula E

Picking up from his dominating run yesterday, Evans had been quickest in final practice held in damp conditions on Sunday morning. The Jaguar proved just under a tenth quicker than Andretti driver André Lotterer.

But when it came to the all-important qualifying session, it proved to be a surprise all-ABT front row lock-out on the grid, with Robin Frijns beating team mate Nico Müller to pole thanks in part to the now-fully wet conditions.

Cassidy's Envision team mate Sébastien Buemi had been on pole yesterday but was just third today, Jean-Éric Vergne joining him on the second row. Evans himself was fifth alongside Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein who had missed out on the semi-final

Cassidy had been dropped to eighth on the grid after a power usage infraction saw his qualifying lap times deleted, while NIO 333's Dan Ticktum started from 18th due to a five-place penalty for colliding with Penske's Stoffel Vandoorne on Saturday.

Despite heavy rain all morning, by the afternoon the skies had managed to clear and the sun was shining, allowing the track to dry rapidly leaving just a few damp patches by the time the cars moved into position on the starting grid.

After a brief delay while protestors were removed from the grid and the start sequence reset, the lights finally went out to get the race underway. The two ABT cars maintained their initial advantage until Frijns activated attack mode on lap 6, with first Evans and then Vergne briefly cycling through at the front until they too went to attack mode.

Nick Cassidy - Envision Racing - Berlin E-Prix - Sunday April 23 2023

© Formula E

By lap 10, Müller was back in charge having come out of the early sequence of attack mode activations much better than Frijns. While he was no match for Wehrlein who took the lead on lap 10, Müller did briefly get the place back when Wehrlein subsequently entered attack mode.

That was just before the first pit stop of the afternoon for Lotterer with nose damage, followed soon after by more serious collision damage for Maserati's Edoardo Mortara putting the Swiss driver out of the race.

With the ABT clearly struggling for pace in the now-dry conditions, Müller found himself ambushed on lap 14 in rapid succession by Buemi, Wehrlein, da Costa, Cassidy and Vergne. It wasn't long before Jake Dennis was also ahead, with Evans moving into seventh now also ahead of the rapidly waning Müller.

Second place in Berlin went to Andretti's Jake Dennis. (©FormulaE)

Just before the halfway mark, Jaguar's Sam Bird suffered front wing damage that forced him to pit for a replacement, wrecking his afternoon. That left Wehrlein and da Costa spearheading a Porsche 1-2 - at least, until Vergne insinuated himself between the pair for second.

With power management now to the fore, there was little resistance to Vergne temporarily taking the lead on lap 21. Wehrlein succeeded in retaking the lead from Vergne, while Cassidy pulled off a lunge to surge into third ahead of Dennis, Evans and da Costa.

Buemi had damaged his front wing and tried to stay out, only for the damaged piece to slip under the front wheels forcing the Swiss driver to take to the run-off at turn 1, his race effectively over. Out of nowhere, Max Gunther then passed Evans for fifth as Dennis, Wehrlein and others played their second attack mode gambits.

DS Penske's Jean-Eric Vergne completed the podium in Berlin. (©FormulaE)

When all the strategy jockeying for position was done, Cassidy led from Dennis, Vergne, Wehrlein, Evans and da Costa, Gunther now slipping back to P7 ahead of Vandoorne (who had clashed with Lucas di Grassi) and Ticktum. With a certain inevitability, early leaders Müller and Frijns had by now exited the top ten.

The Porsches were also off the pace, leading to Wehrlein falling away from the leading battle. Then with six laps to go, his team mate da Costa went into the back of Evans: while both were able to continue, it released the top three while causing a ripple effect delay behind them in their wake.

Results of the 2023 Berlin E-Prix race 2 on April 23 2023

© Formula E

From there, Cassidy maintained his half-second advantage over Dennis to the chequered flag, with Vergne fending off a recovering Evans to take the final podium position. Also in the top ten at the finish line were da Costa, Gunther, Wehrlein and Vandoorne with Müller clawing his way back to P9 ahead of Ticktum.

The result means that Cassidy is within four points of the top of the drivers standings, currently occupied by Wehrlein on a tidy 100 points. Vergne, Dennis, Evans and da Costa also remain very much within touching distance of the leaders.

Porsche retain the lead in the team standings at the halfway point of the 16-race season with 168 points to Envision's 153, and Jaguar on 138. The next round will be held in Monaco on May 6 in two week's time.

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