Puebla E-Prix: Di Grassi leads Audi 1-2 after Porsche

The German combo led comfortably from pole for the first Puebla E-Prix and crossed the line with a clear 3.6s margin but were soon sent to the bottom of the timing screens.

The reprimand was dealt for the team not declaring the tyres on Wehrlein’s car, which would deny both parties their first series wins – both having secured their second poles.

That in turn rewarded the excellent recovery drive of Lucas di Grassi to the top step of the podium as the Brazilian recorded his first and Audi’s first triumph since Berlin in 2019.

Rene Rast finished only 0.497s in arrears to record his first podium and the team its third 1-2 in Formula E ahead of its pending exit at the end of the term as Edoardo Mortara completed the podium.

Wehrlein had found clear air off the line when second-starting Oliver Rowland bogged down massively, while entering the race without radio communication, and dropped to 14th.

The Porsche driver then made an early bid for the costly attack mode joker lap but was able to limit the damage and return to the circuit up in third in a squabble with BMW Andretti.

Pascal Wehrlein, Tag Heuer Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric, Jake Dennis, BMW I Andretti Motorsport, BMW iFE.21, Maximilian Guenther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.21, Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21

Pascal Wehrlein, Tag Heuer Porsche, Porsche 99X Electric, Jake Dennis, BMW I Andretti Motorsport, BMW iFE.21, Maximilian Guenther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.21, Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

As Jean-Eric Vergne was forced into rapid avoiding action to miss the slow Nissan e.dams of Rowland on the dirty side of the grid, it allowed fifth-starting Maximilian Guenther to take third into Turn 1 behind team-mate Jake Dennis.

But the race was soon after put on ice when Nick Cassidy clattered the concrete wall on the exit of Turn 2 seemingly unaided.

That snapped his front-left suspension and brought out the safety car and at the restart Wehrlein made an early breakaway for clean air.

A second intervention was called for to recover the wrecked Jaguar Racing machine of Sam Bird who fell victim to the blind exit of attack mode that filters back into the racing line.

As he merged back on to track, Alex Lynn was left with nowhere to go and clattered across the front with his Mahindra Racing machine to pincer Bird against the wall.

Di Grassi had used the first-ever in-house developed Audi powertrain to good effect, passing Alexander Sims for sixth without the attack mode boost on the run into Turn 1.

A similar move on the Jaguar of Mitch Evans returned fifth and then he capitalised on the slowing Guenther, who was caught up in a battle with Venturi Racing’s Mortara at Turn 11.

With another precise move coming at Turn 1 on Mortara, di Grassi climbed up to second to eventually inherit his third victory in Mexico.

Despite Sims colliding with Vergne in a similar attack mode exit shunt to that endured by his team-mate Lynn, the Brit – stymied by a lack of practice running following a suspected battery glitch – earned fourth ahead of Dennis.

Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02, Alexander Sims, Mahindra Racing, M7Electro, Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07, Rene Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07, Antonio Felix da Costa, DS Techee

Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Racing, Silver Arrow 02, Alexander Sims, Mahindra Racing, M7Electro, Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07, Rene Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07, Antonio Felix da Costa, DS Techee

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

Da Costa, meanwhile, recovered from 13th on the grid but a potential top-four spot went begging when he was delayed after an aborted attempted pass on Guenther in the closing stages.

Stoffel Vandoorne salvaged points from starting 21st in an eventual seventh as Evans ran to eighth ahead of the second Mercedes of Nyck de Vries, who fought back after he was spun around by Robin Frijns.

Lynn completed the top 10 ahead of NIO 333 driver Oliver Turvey and a late struggle on overheating tyres eventually relegated Guenther to 12th.

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