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Formula E Rome ePrix I

Dennis was "never going to beat" Evans to Rome E-Prix victory

Jake Dennis believes he would have been unable to beat Formula E title rival Mitch Evans to Rome E-Prix victory even if he had run the correct energy-saving strategy.

Jake Dennis, Andretti Autosport, Porsche 99 X Electric Gen3, Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6

The Andretti Autosport driver headed into Saturday’s race leading the championship, one point ahead of Nick Cassidy and a further 28 points clear of Evans. 

Having avoided a crash for Sam Bird immediately in front, which triggered a multi-car collision and lengthy red flag, Dennis resumed the race in fourth and made quick progress up the order. 

After getting ahead of Evans into Turn 3 on lap 14, he took the lead from Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz a lap later at Turn 8 and led for several laps, only dropping into second behind Evans when activating his final Attack Mode. 

But the stoppage and an earlier safety car meant two extra laps were added to the race distance - making for a total of 27 laps, one more than Dennis’ team had planned for. 

It meant he eventually lost positions to Evans, Cassidy and Maserati’s Maximilian Gunther before the flag, while he only just held onto fourth from DS Penske’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Abt Cupra’s Nico Muller. 

“It was never going to look as good as it could have done with what target we had compared with everyone else, and that’s why we ended up going into the lead thinking I can win this race now with the target I had,” said Dennis, who now sits five points behind Cassidy in the standings. 

“And then they [the team] were like plus one lap and then my target was super low and no chance we could fight. 

“We only lost P3 today, we were never going to beat Mitch and Nick if we got the lap count correct from the start, they would have obviously just beat me on pure pace. 

“But Gunther I think we had the measure of, bit of a shame to throw away three points. 

“The pace I was dropping back was quite severe and, by the time I dropped into Vergne’s clutches, I managed to save quite a lot of energy, so my targets were quite a bit higher by the time he caught me, so I was able to hold my own.”

Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6, Jake Dennis, Andretti Autosport, Porsche 99 X Electric Gen3

Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-TYPE 6, Jake Dennis, Andretti Autosport, Porsche 99 X Electric Gen3

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

While Dennis believes he would not have won Saturday’s race even if had he been driving to the correct energy saving target from the start, the Briton also does not believe he can match the Jaguar and Envision cars on pure pace in Sunday’s second Rome E-Prix. 

“Honestly, no,” said Dennis when asked if he could beat Evans and Cassidy in a straight fight in race two.  

“Fundamental things need to change inside the car which can’t be changed due to the homologation so we will not beat Mitch and the Jaguars tomorrow if it’s a normal race. 

“Anything can happen obviously, my car handles good it’s just lacking grip compared to theirs due to a number of things. 

“It’s going to be a difficult one here and in London [for the final races], those guys are going to be a different level. 

“Over these next few races, we just need to try and salvage what we can and pick up decent points.” 

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