- Jean-Eric Vergne put together an authoritative race after setting pole position, leading the way at the start before defending to ensure a strong second place at the finish
- Stoffel Vandoorne was held back by traffic in qualifying and then fought in the middle of the pack on a track where overtaking is never easy. He finished 14th.
- Next up on Saturday is the second race in the first double header of this season’s ABB FIA Formula E World Championship
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 30, 2024: Following the opening round in Mexico, Season 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship continues this weekend on the Diriyah circuit in Saudi Arabia. For DS Automobiles and its partner PENSKE AUTOSPORT, Friday got off to an excellent start. Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, mastering the lack of grip and the dust, set best time in his qualifying group before winning his duels against Norman Nato, Sergio Sette Camara, and Mitch Evans. The result was his 16th pole position and a second pole for DS PENSKE since their association started.
Stoffel Vandoorne placed his DS E-TENSE FE23 on the sixth row of the grid, having been held up by traffic during what is always a very strategic qualifying session.
After the lights went out, JEV grabbed a lead that he held until lap five when Jake Dennis pounced and got past him. The Frenchman ran in a solitary second place for much of the race, but then had to skilfully defend against a chasing pack that consisted of Nick Cassidy, Sam Bird, and Mitch Evans in the closing stages. After 37 laps of racing, JEV triumphantly gave DS Automobiles and PENSKE AUTOSPORT its first podium of Season 10.
Locked into the ferocious midfield battle, Stoffel Vandoorne was placed between 16th and 14th: his final finishing position when the chequered flag fell, with overtaking proving nearly impossible.
The action resumes on Saturday in Diriyah for the third race of the season.
Eugenio Franzetti, DS Performance director:
“This was a great day for the DS PENSKE team. JEV’s pole position and second place underlines the solid performance of the DS E-TENSE FE23 at the highest level of competition, allowing us to bank some excellent points for the championship. The hard work that we carried out over the winter is beginning to pay off. We know that we obviously still have work to do to close the gap to some of our rivals and bring both cars home in the points, but we’ll get there!”
Jean-Éric Vergne, 2018 and 2019 Formula E champion:
“Normally, I’m the first person to be disappointed not to have won a race that we started from pole position. But when you look at the speed that some of our competitors had, we can be happy with second place as it wasn’t an easy race. I’m very pleased with the progress we have made within the team and on the car. Being able to fight with the people at the very top, in the position we were in today, shows that we have already come a long way. Now we need to keep going like this, in order to get the better of our rivals. I’m very proud of the team and we’re going to carry on pushing hard. We had a good strategy today, and I’m very pleased to be here.”
Stoffel Vandoorne, 2022 Formula E champion:
“It was a somewhat frustrating day. During free practice, the speed was there and I had a good feeling with the car. I knew that qualifying would be crucial as energy management is not so important here. But unfortunately things didn’t quite go as we hoped, and I found myself on the track a bit too late for the second run. That compromised everything, so we ended up quite far down the grid. It’s even more of a shame as we had the speed to be in the top five. I had an issue at the start of the race and from then on there was not much to do, right from the moment when energy management wasn’t a major factor. I’m just looking forward to the next race now.”
Key figures since DS Automobiles entered Formula E:
- 107 races
- 4 championship titles
- 16 victories
- 48 podiums
- 23 pole positions