Tales from Diriyah – Formula E Round 2

Photo credits: Formula E |Andrew Ferraro
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… because a race is more than just its top finishers!

Sergio Sette Camara

The Brazilian driver was definitely one of the biggest surprises of the first race in Saudi Arabia. After a quiet inaugural Mexico E-Prix for the freshly rebranded team, Sette Camara was impressively fast in qualifying.

In fact, the former Dragon Penske driver came third in the very competitive Group B, setting a lap that was better than the ones put in by top riders like Vandoorne, Bird, Buemi and Da Costa. He also advanced to the Semi Finals by beating Maserati’s Gunther, but had to concede to eventual pole sitter Jean-Eric Vergne.

“I’m very happy with Friday in Riyadh. I qualified in the semi-finals and started P4 so that was very good,” commented Sette Camara.

Photo credits: Formula E |Andrew Ferraro

Unfortunately his pace wasn’t good enough top hold on to a Top 5 finish, but he still managed to bring back home points for ERT with a P9 after being in contention for a podium in the early rounds.

“In the race I was able to stay in the top ten and score some points and finish ninth, which we’re all very pleased with. We all know how hard it is for our car to stay in the points so the team did a great job strategy-wise and I think I also did a good job with the driving.”

Sam Bird

The fast British driver scored under the bright moon his first points for the team he had joined in the off season. Starting from P9, the Neom McLaren driver moved up more spots on the grid than anyone else, ultimately ending his day in P4.

The top 5 finish definitely pleased Bird, as he said after the end of the race :“I’m delighted to have scored my first points for the NEOM McLaren Formula E Team.”

Photo credits: Formula E | Simon Galloway

Bird recovered an additional position on the final lap of the race due to his former teammate Mitch Evans running wide in an attempt to overtake for P2.

“ We have just finished our first race of the week under the lights in Diriyah and brought home some good points for the team with a fourth-place finish and a fight for the podium. We had a very competitive package, and I can’t wait to see what we can try and do tomorrow.”

Jehan Daruvala

The only rookie on the 2024 grid, Daruvala admits to having more positive sensations after his first race ever in Mexico City, even if points are yet to come.

The Indian driver, who competed in Formula 2 last season, is definitely adapting quickly to his new challenger, and in Round 2 he was able to close up the gap he had had at the end of the Mexican race.

Photo credits: Formula E | Simon Galloway

Considering our qualifying, I think today’s race was always going to be difficult, but comparing it to Mexico City, I think I took some good steps forward. In my first race I finished quite far from the field, but this weekend I was able to stay with them and under-consume which was a big learning point. “

“Qualifying higher up the grid will open up a lot of opportunities here, and I’m going to take my confidence from today into tomorrow,” added Daruvala, looking forward to his first double header.

With a bit more confidence and experience on the same track, who knows what he will be able to achieve?

Pascal Wehrlein

Winner of the inaugural Mexico City E-Prix, the German driver wasn’t as satisfied with his race day in Diriyah as he had been in America. It was a tough day overall for Porsche, with Da Costa’s teammate out of the top 20, but Wehrlein still managed to end the race in the top ten.

The points scored with his P8 are of vital importance to Wehrlein, due to the fact that they allow him to retain by a single point the championship lead over podium finisher Nick Cassidy.

Photo credits: Formula E | Simon Galloway

The 2023 championship contender wasn’t pleased with his first Diriyah performance, as he debriefed afterwards:

“ We’re not particularly satisfied with this first race in Diriyah. We were off the pace a bit in qualifying. I had to start the race on the dirty side of the track and lost a few places.”

“ We had the speed but I couldn’t overtake. For tomorrow we need to make sure we’re a bit further up the field. Then we have to get off to a good start to also set our pace in the race,” he concluded, looking forward to a chance to redeem his Saudi Arabian weekend in the following day.