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Jake Boxall-Legge

Diriyah E-Prix: Wehrlein defeats Dennis to complete double win

The Porsche driver once again produced a tactical masterclass to shake out into the lead by the end of the attack mode phase among the leaders, and then had to withstand pressure from Dennis to pick up a second consecutive victory.

Another strong start, this time from fifth on the grid, handed Wehrlein fourth place after the opening array of corners as Sebastien Buemi was off line into the opening chicane.

The German let the cars ahead fight between them in the early stages, as Mitch Evans had collected the lead from polesitter Jake Hughes at the start, but the Kiwi took the front foot on attack mode to his detriment and allowed Hughes to repass.

With the McLarens at the front, Hughes quickly responded to Evans which dropped him to third, and brought the rookie Briton into Wehrlein's clutches.

He made the pass on Hughes on lap 12, and then dispatched Evans a lap later as Rene Rast's well-timed attack mode gave the three-time DTM title winner the lead.

Now second, Wehrlein made hay and took three minutes of attack mode to hunt down Rast and cut the lead to 0.8s a lap later.

But although Rast denied Wehrlein the satisfaction of a lead battle by taking his own attack mode, he granted his countryman the lead and this issued the Porsche driver a chance to disappear into the distance.

Like Friday, Dennis was then spurred into action at the halfway mark and made a series of decisive passes on Edoardo Mortara, Hughes and Evans to once again sit in second place.

Dennis then used his first activation of attack mode of one minute to try and close Wehrlein down, but the gap was slashed after Nico Muller's lap 27 crash.

The Abt driver hit the Turn 18 wall while trying to mount an overtake on Oliver Rowland, and somewhat put the cat among the pigeons as the safety car was called out.

On the restart Dennis tried to hustle Wehrlein, but the race one winner had enough about him to force Dennis into taking a three-minute second hit of attack mode.

The Andretti driver closed the gap down to one second, but by this stage had run into an energy deficit compared to Wehrlein and once again began to lose ground over the final five laps.

Wehrlein extended the lead to two seconds to grant himself enough of a buffer at the final lap, with a lap added on for the Muller-enforced safety car, to deny Dennis the chance of reversing the top two results.

Rast put in a stunning defensive effort to deny Sam Bird the opportunity to clone Friday's podium, despite Bird's strong energy-saving drive in the middle part of the race that made the Briton a threat.

Having charged up to third, Bird took his final attack mode with Dennis at the end of lap 32, but this let Rast trickle through into the top three to force the Jaguar driver to make a move on the next lap.

While Bird looked to have the run down the inside of Turn 18, he overcooked it on the brakes and Rast recovered the position.

Having not used any attack mode prior to the safety car, Bird had to go offline again on lap 35 to take his final minute, which gave Rast breathing space in the final array of laps.

Although Bird was close through the downhill sweepers on the final few laps, Rast had enough drive out of Turn 17 to keep the hovering Bird at bay despite running perilously low on energy to claim McLaren's first Formula E podium.

Hughes crossed the line fifth but had run out of energy, and only crossed the line as Evans pushed him past the chequered flag - which allowed an opportunistic Buemi to snatch sixth from the New Zealander at the line.

Sacha Fenestraz claimed his first Formula E points - and Nissan's first of the year - with eighth after passing Mortara late on, as Maserati MSG also got onto the scoreboard for the first time in 2022-23.

Stoffel Vandoorne was hit with an electrical issue which left him with no dashboard and unable to reach for his attack mode activations, which allowed Dan Ticktum to creep through to claim a point for NIO 333. The Belgian was hit with a 24-second time penalty having failed to use all of his attack modes.

Diriyah E-Prix - Race 2 results:

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