Formula E

René Rast on Podium Finish: “It was a fight until the very last corner”

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Credit: LAT Images courtesy of FIA Formula E

René Rast successfully claimed his first podium in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship since the Season Seven Puebla E-Prix, after an incredible defensive display in the closing laps of race two at the Diriyah E-Prix.

After finishing fifth in the first race of the double-header at the Riyadh Street Circuit, Rast had an exceptional qualifying ahead of round three of the 2022/23 championship to put himself third on the grid, ahead of the second race in Diriyah. The returning German timed his Attack Modes brilliantly and jumped ahead of Mitch Evans and his team-mate Jake hughes, after opting to take his first Attack Mode after the duo that had been running first and second.

Once Rast activated his Attack Mode, he actually built a nice gap to the cars behind; however, race one winner Pascal Wehrlein and race one runner-up Jake Dennis begun their pursuit of the thirty-six year-old. Rast had absolutely no answer to Wehrlein or Dennis, who went on to claim another one-two, leaving Rast to defend for his life in third. Rast had to defend for his life to keep Sam Bird behind, with the British driver having had considerably more energy than the German.

No matter what Bird did, though, he couldn’t find a way past Rast, who managed to secure the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team‘s first podium in Formula E, and his first since June 2021.

Rast admitted himself that the race “was a fight until the very last corner”, as the German finally got his season underway after retiring in Mexico City.

“What a fantastic day! It wasn’t an easy race, however I did lead some laps, which was pretty cool! I had to manage quite a bit of my energy during the race, which was tricky. I knew the other drivers around me had more energy, and at the end I was battling with Sam [Bird], who had more energy than me.

“It was a fight until the very last corner. I’m very happy, especially compared to where I was in Mexico, where I didn’t finish with any points. We can be very proud of what the team has achieved this week, especially today with pole position and the podium. We’re still learning and hopefully we can apply that to Hyderabad.” 

“We had the expectations that we wouldn’t be racing the Porsche cars” – Jake Hughes

On the other side of the McLaren garage, and it was once again a great weekend for rookie Hughes, who is continuing to prove himself as a real talent in the all-electric series. After losing out in the Final for race one, before finishing eighth in the race, the British driver claimed an incredible pole position for race two.

It means that in his first three races in Formula E, Hughes has qualified third, second and now first, further suggesting that he could be one of the best rookies that the championship has ever seen. Unfortunately, he was unable to convert his pole position into victory and had to settle for fifth in the race, after having to preserve energy like crazy on the final lap. Hughes was remarkably pushed over the finish-line by Evans, with the British driver having been seconds away from running out of energy.

After the incredible end to the second race in Diriyah, Hughes heads into the fourth round of the championship in India occupying fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, after a solid start to the season.

Reflecting on the weekend, Hughes was “super happy” with his pole position and was glad to beat at least one of the Jaguar’s , with that having been “our goal”.

“It’s been a really good day, securing pole position in my third race with the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team! Yesterday, I didn’t think we quite had what it took in the Qualifying Duels and we managed to get P2, and then pole today. Super happy. Going into the race, we had the expectation that we wouldn’t be racing the Porsche cars, and our goal was, on a good day, to be fighting the Jaguars.

“In the end, both NEOM McLaren cars finished in front of a Jaguar car. I can’t wait to head to Hyderabad in a few weeks!” 

Credit: Sam Bloxham courtesy of FIA Formula E
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