Formula E: Vergne Reigns Supreme in Riyadh’s Intense Season Opener

    In the opening race of the 2023 Formula E season, Jean-Eric Vergne of the DS Penske team emerged victorious on the streets of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The challenging track conditions on Sunday morning, with a mere 16°C temperature and a light drizzle, set the stage for an intense and unpredictable race.

    The practice session was marked by caution, as the drivers navigated the slightly slippery surface. However, the DS E-TENSE FE23s, piloted by Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne, found their rhythm as the session progressed. A yellow flag at Turn 11, indicating a hazardous area, prompted the entire grid to adopt a more cautious approach.

    When it came to qualifying, Vergne showcased his prowess, setting the second-fastest time in his group, just 0.012 seconds behind Robin Frijns of Envision. Vandoorne also impressed, securing the fifth spot in his group, just a tenth of a second behind Pascal Wehrlein’s Porsche.

    Vergne’s determination shone through in the knockout stages, as he navigated past Nick Cassidy’s Jaguar and then overcame Robin Frijns to reach the final. There, he faced off against the previous day’s winner, Antonio Felix Da Costa, in a battle of the titans. Vergne’s experience and skill prevailed, as he clinched his 17th pole position in Formula E, becoming the discipline’s new record holder.

    “I believed in it right up to the last bend, I really gave it my all on that lap,” Vergne said. “Now we’re going to have to run an intelligent race in order to score as many points as possible for the team.”

    The race itself proved to be a test of energy management, with the circuit’s fast-paced nature and constant position changes. Vergne managed to maintain his position at the front, while Vandoorne fought his way up the order, just outside the top 10.

    The race was disrupted by a late safety car, which altered the energy strategies of the leaders. However, Vergne’s DS Penske managed to cross the finish line in fifth position, showcasing the team’s resilience and the competitiveness of the DS E-TENSE FE23.

    The next Formula E races are scheduled for 20-21 July in London, and the championship remains wide open as the teams and drivers prepare for the next chapter of this thrilling all-electric racing series.

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