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Mortara wins for Venturi after a late-race safety car

Mortara had overtaken Venturi teammate Lucas di Grassi at Turn 18 in a furious battle between the frontrunners and then had to hold off the advances of Frijns – who had swept past di Grassi on lap 29 in his battle for the win.

But a late safety car for Alexander Sims’ battered Mahindra, who slammed into the wall at Turn 6 and came to a halt, squeezed the field together – arguably more than expected as the field was momentarily stopped at the top of the hill by the safety car waited for the recovery vehicle.

But as the clock passed the 41-minute mark, no time was added – and the slow progress clearing Sims’ car at the top of the circuit gave no opportunity for anything other than a last-corner sprint to the finish – which Mortara easily navigated to his third Formula E victory.

Mortara had started on the grid alongside polesitter Nyck de Vries, but the Dutchman held on at Turn 1 and appeared to have back-to-back wins after winning yesterday’s race at Diriyah.

De Vries handled the first spate of attack mode engagements, guiding Mortara and di Grassi through the activation zone to stay ahead.

But di Grassi opted for an early second activation, taking his extra power on lap 12 and undercutting Frijns – who tried to cover him a lap later.

Mortara followed, falling behind di Grassi, but de Vries chose to salvage his own attack mode – leaving him vulnerable to their advances with a 30kW deficit.

Di Grassi then pulled a move on de Vries towards Turn 18 and attempted to take the outside line, but de Vries later hit the brakes and attempted to bat the 2016-17 champion away.

The two eventually touched twice in the chicane, with di Grassi picking his way back up front after both were left behind in the runoff and claiming the lead for his effort – despite an FIA investigation looming.

Mortara then cleared de Vries on the following tour, albeit cleaner than his teammate could manage as de Vries continued to resist the urge to join them in attack mode.

The Venturis then effectively switched places as Mortara put di Grassi ahead.

Although Frijns gave chase, the Envision driver was temporarily busy with the chasing group of Andre Lotterer, Jean-Eric Vergne and Jake Dennis – he lost a place on lap 18 when Lotterer almost braked his car to try to separate Frijns and de to sit Steps ahead.

Frijns passed Lotterer again two laps later, their fight giving de Vries some breathing room – albeit not enough to retain third place when the Mercedes finally went into attack mode on lap 22.

But de Vries, unable to put a coherent move on Frijns, soon watched Jean-Eric Vergne close in his mirrors – and Vergne was resilient in his efforts to get de Vries at the favored spot at Turn 18 to overtake and get into the switchback as his rival drove deep into the braking zone and swerved into the following corner.

This put de Vries in a vulnerable position for the following corners, leaving him behind for Lotterer, Dennis, teammate Stoffel Vandoorne and Oliver Rowland.

Frijns’ push on di Grassi was enough for second place as di Grassi ensured two Venturi riders made it onto the podium.

Lotterer passed Vergne and finished fourth. He didn’t suffer from the energy management issues that made him struggle in the first race and Dennis followed Lotterer in fifth place.

Vergne was sixth ahead of Vandoorne, who recovered from his qualifying group stage exit to finish seventh, closely followed by Rowland.

Wehrlein made another effort against de Vries to add to the reigning champion’s misery and finished ninth to ensure both Porsches finished in the points.

Mitch Evans missed points, as did impressive rookie Oliver Askew – who won in a phenomenal race-length battle with Antonio Felix da Costa.

Diriyah E-Prix – Race Results:


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