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DS Penske retained the positive from Tokyo

The first race in the history of Formula E in Japan allowed Jean-Éric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne to continue fine-tuning their electric cars, even if battery problems marred the Franco-American team's weekend.

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

Photo by: DPPI

Although the weather conditions were very difficult on the eve of the race, the first Tokyo E-Prix was a success from an organisational point of view.

The consequence of the heavy rain that fell until lunchtime on Friday simply encouraged the drivers to be cautious during the first practice sessions, on a track that was still waterlogged.

At DS Penske, it wasn't the rain that caused Vandoorne problems, but rather the battery in his electric single-seater. This is a component common to all cars, and its failure meant that it had to be replaced.

Fortunately, the following morning, the sun was out again, and although the track was still a little damp in places, the level of grip was much more even. The set-up of the single-seaters could then be fine-tuned, and the two DS Penske cars, in caution mode, were in the middle of the timesheets.

Still having to find solutions in sector one, Vergne finished the second session in ninth place, with Vandoorne 11th. In qualifying, the two DS E-TENSE FE23s were both in Group B, but the configuration of the session prevented them from reaching the quarter-finals. Still hampered by battery problems, Vandoorne once again had to replace it.

A race that could have paid off

Starting from 13th and 18th on the grid, the DS Penske drivers knew that they would have to call on all their experience to try and gain places.

But on this bumpy circuit, where a break can even cause the cars to take off completely, it's not easy to find grip.

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

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

Photo by: DPPI

Fortunately, energy management is an effective lever for those who know how to use it wisely. In this context, the driver and race engineer duo is very important, and we can see at the end of the first third of the race that 'JEV' waited for the drivers behind him to switch to their attack mode before triggering his own.

It was a strategy that paid off, as he came within touching distance of the points, while Stoffel Vandoorne hovered between 12th and 17th. His hopes of breaking into the top 10 were still alive, especially as there was still an Attack mode to be taken.

But an accident between Nyck de Vries and Lucas di Grassi caused the safety car to come out. All the gaps were thus reduced to nothing.

The neutralisation of the race resulted in the race being extended by two laps, which quickly froze the positions to ensure energy demand.

Vergne finally crossed the line in 11th position, with Vandoorne 16th. It was a frustrating finish and confirmation that Formula E can sometimes be cruel.

The two races at Misano (Italy) in a fortnight will be an opportunity for the DS Penske Team to demonstrate its true level.

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