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Formula E Jakarta ePrix I

DS Penske plays it safe 

The DS Penske drivers finished fourth and fifth in a race dominated by Porsche in the race and Maserati in qualifying with Jean-Éric Vergne improving one position in the championship standings.

Vergne Jean Eric , DS Penske Formula E Team

As has been the case since the start of the season, the driver who took pole position - in this instance, Maximilian Gunther (Maserati) - did not win the race. Instead, the German finished third, ahead of the Penske DS entries of Stoffel Vandoorne and Vergne.

A few hours earlier, qualifying delivered the names of the favourites. At the end of Groups A and B, the four cars in the Stellantis group were in the running - Gunther and Edoardo Mortara for Maserati, and Vandoorne and Vergne for DS Penske.

The track obviously suits DS Automobiles well, given that Vergne achieved pole position in 2022. But in the quarter-finals, both DS and Maserati found themselves in a situation of direct internal competition, which eliminated any hope of a front row dominated by their team colours. 

The first duels were won by Vergne, Günther, and also Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) and Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti).

Dennis advanced to the final at the expense of Vergne, fending him off by 0.359s, while Gunther got the better of Wehrlein.

Gunther then secured Maserati its first pole position in Formula E and the first in open-wheel racing for the Italian manufacturer since Juan Manuel Fangio's pole position at the Argentine Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1958.

Who is the best in energy strategy? 

Formula E is a championship where, since the arrival of Gen 3 single-seaters, leading from the front is extremely complicated due to the high levels of energy management.

Vandoorne Stoffel, DS Penske Formula E Team

Vandoorne Stoffel, DS Penske Formula E Team

Photo by: DPPI

On the radio, engineers have been heard asking their drivers to ease off at certain points during the race to conserve their battery life.

In this championship, the energy strategy counts more than anywhere else, since the aim is to reconstitute at least 30% of the energy expended during each lap by regenerating the battery cells when slowing down and braking.

This is a difficult exercise in normal circumstances, but is even more complex in Jakarta, because of the ambient heat - 33°C in the air and 39°C on the ground at the start) - which can have an impact on the proper functioning of the batteries.

Porsche, DS Automobiles and Maserati were the best performers in this first round, with all three manufacturers placing their cars in the top 10 - with the exception of David Beckmann (Avalanche Andretti), who was making his Formula E debut. 

"It was a pretty positive day for us," said Vergne. "Even though I lost a position at the start when I started from the dirty side of the track, finishing fifth is a good result, and I couldn't have done better.

"With Stoffel just ahead of me, we're scoring big points for the team and we're continuing to make progress."  

Vergne Jean Eric , DS Penske Formula E Team

Vergne Jean Eric , DS Penske Formula E Team

Photo by: DPPI

Vergne moves up from fifth to fourth in the drivers' standings, while DS Penske also moves up to fourth in the constructors' standings. 

Sunday's race, the 11th of the season, will begin at 10:03 CEST [09:03 BST], with similar conditions forecast. 

Although no one has a crystal ball to know exactly what will happen, generally the teams that are ahead on day one remain competitive the following day.

It remains to be seen how the DS Penske drivers will react to the Porsches, with French manufacturer DS Automobiles celebrating its 100th FE race tomorrow. No doubt Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Éric Vergne will be keen to celebrate the day with a good result. 

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