It was a strange weekend for Jake Dennis and the BMW i Andretti Motorsport team in the Valencia E-Prix, but the Briton came away with his maiden points finish in race one and his maiden ABB FIA Formula E Championship victory in race two!
Dennis had failed to score in either the Diriyah or Rome E-Prix weekends, and initially it looked as though he was going to miss out in race one in Spain as well, only for disqualifications ahead of him to promote him to eighth place.
The wet conditions and multiple safety car periods left usable energy at dangerously low levels, but Dennis crawled around on the final lap to ensure he did not exceed the maximum energy allowed, and it gave him points when others failed to make it to the line with energy remaining.
“It was quite a challenging race for everyone in the wet conditions,” said Dennis on Saturday. “My biggest problem was that I couldn’t see a lot through my wet visor.
“Due to the confusion with the energy management at the end a lot of drivers have been penalised. We decided to make sure we are completely legal, which cost us a lot of positions.
“Luckily, we did move up after the race and I have now finally scored my first points in Formula E.”
If Saturday was lucky, Sunday was far from it, as he took advantage of the conditions to take pole position before dominating from start to finish to win race two.
Dennis says it was great to get the win after a difficult start to his rookie Formula E campaign, and he hopes to be able to build on this result across the rest of the season.
“I am lost for words. The whole race inside the cockpit was incredibly technical,” said Dennis after his victory. “Pulling a gap at the right point to get ATTACK MODE was so crucial.
“Everyone in the team did a great job. I’m really happy for everybody. We had such a tough start to the season, but today we turned it around. We are back in it again.”
“We must analyse what went wrong in the wet” – Maximilian Günther
Team-mate Maximilian Günther had a far less successful weekend, although initially it looked as though he was the BMW driver most likely to finish on the podium.
Günther started on the front row for race one having showed good speed throughout practice and Qualifying, but the wet conditions saw him struggle and he fell away from the battle at the front.
Ultimately, Günther spun away his chance of a good finish into the gravel trap at turn two when his rear brakes locked, and he was left to rue what might have been if it had been a dry race.
“A disappointing race obviously,” Günther said. “It’s extremely unfortunate not to finish it. We just didn’t have the pace in the wet today.
“I struggled a lot with the grip from the first lap. I was able to defend quite well for a few laps, but then I dropped back position by position. At that point the goal was to score some points. Then braking into turn 2 the rear locked completely and I wasn’t able to catch it anymore. That was the end of my race.
“Generally, our pace was very good today in the dry and I was happy with our performance in practice and qualifying. We must analyse what went wrong in the wet but also focus on tomorrow. Hopefully it will be a dry race then.”
Günther’s misfortune carried on into Sunday when conditions again did not go his way in Qualifying, which left him starting twenty-fourth and last on the grid.
He was able to make some gains in the race, but he was unable to better twelfth at the chequered flag, meaning he failed to score points for the fourth time in six races.
“Starting last we had a good race, I would say,” he said. “There was a lot of tough fighting going on with some of the top guys in the field, but we did well. Of course all these fights cost us a lot of time, otherwise we could have finished even higher.
“Many congrats to Jake and the whole team on the great victory!”