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Both DS Penske in the points in the Misano Formula E opener

After taking his DS E-TENSE FE23 to the top of the timesheets in practice and qualifying, Jean-Eric Vergne finished sixth in a race in which he crossed the finish line in third place. Stoffel Vandoorne, who started 18th, took the points for eighth place.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

After a difficult race in Japan, the DS Penske team was back on track for the first round of the 2024 season in Europe. Misano is a permanent circuit and, for once, the track is not lined with walls. However, the electric single-seaters must not make too much of a gap, because on the other side of the vibrators there is grass or gravel, which can be just as destructive for the cars. This unusual configuration for the championship is not likely to impress the drivers, and the two DS Penske starters soon felt at ease.

On Friday afternoon, under slightly overcast skies, the two DS E-TENSE FE23s quickly got into the rhythm, before topping the timesheets with Vergne in the lead. Then, on this Saturday morning, it was JEV again who set the fastest time in the second session, with Vandoorne just behind in fifth position.

"The last few races have shown us that season 10 will be contested at the highest level", commented Vandoorne before this first race. "After Tokyo, we continued to work very hard, aware of our strengths and our potential to achieve our objectives. This potential was also demonstrated by Robert Shwartzman during the rookie test, the Russian-Israeli driver placing the DS Penske single-seater second in both the 300 kW and 350 kW classes.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

Confirmation as the race day progressed

In qualifying, JEV set another fastest time to finish first in Group A. Vandoorne was unfortunate in his flying lap and failed to qualify for the quarter-finals. In the duels, Vergne still seemed untouchable and easily got rid of Max Guenther's Maserati. In the semi-final, Pascal Wehrlein's Porsche was no match for the DS Automobiles single-seater. In the final, JEV met up with Mitch Evans, whose Jaguar was also one of the fastest cars this season. It was Evans who took pole position, just one tenth of a second ahead of the Frenchman's DS Penske.

With such a strong front row and Wehrlein's Porsche just behind, the race promised to be a spicy one. On this permanent circuit, where the longest straight ends in a chicane, the energy strategy is very important. Everyone knows this and has predicted it during the simulator sessions, and it's a game of cat and mouse. The aim is to stay ahead of the pack but not to put too much strain on the batteries, at the risk of not being able to keep up the pace to the finish.

Vergne was very convincing in this respect, steering his car with an energetic dexterity that enabled him to control his positions. As the final laps approached, the French driver was still in contention for victory. He crossed the finish line in third position, but was eventually classified sixth, following a five-second penalty (for involvement in a collision, the subject of much discussion afterwards). Vandoorne finished eighth, giving DS Penske a further four points.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

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