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Formula E Monaco ePrix

DS Penske shine in the Principality

Now held every year on the Monaco circuit, Formula E offers a breathtaking spectacle in which the DS Penske shone. Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Éric Vergne took 3rd and 4th place.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

When you think of Monaco in spring, you think of mild temperatures, spectacular manoeuvres on the track and light clothing. But with only 13°C on the ground and 15°C in the air for the first test session (at 7:30 am), it's not quite the same atmosphere.

The drivers were cautious, the spectators were bundled up, and there was no getting away from the fact that everything was too much.

British driver Sam Bird was the first to pay the price when he suffered a steering problem and crashed his McLaren into a wall. With an injured wrist, he had to be replaced by his compatriot Taylor Barnard, a Formula E rookie and the youngest driver on the day (aged 19).

But by mid-morning the temperature had risen, the sun was back out and morale was high. For Monaco, each team has prepared something special, because winning in the Principality is more prestigious than anywhere else.

The team that made the biggest splash even before the start was undoubtedly DS Penske, with a special Grand Gala livery for its cars, as well as outfits and helmets based on the same concept.

The two DS Penske drivers, Vergne and Vandoorne, were rather discreet in practice, but they put the gold lines on a black background to good use in Group B qualifying, taking their two DS E-TENSE FE23s to the quarter-finals.

However, they were unlucky to fall foul of each other in the first duel. In the end, it was Stoffel Vandoorne who emerged victorious and progressed to the semi-finals. Then came the clash with Nick Cassidy's Jaguar, while the other British car, Mich Evans', had just been eliminated by Pascal Wehrlein's Porsche.

James Barclay, Team Director, Jaguar TCS Racing, Nick Cassidy, Jaguar TCS Racing, 2nd position, and Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

James Barclay, Team Director, Jaguar TCS Racing, Nick Cassidy, Jaguar TCS Racing, 2nd position, and Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

Once again, Stoffel Vandoorne was solid and put in a good lap. He qualified for the final against Pascal Wehrlein. With Porsche and DS Automobiles (through the DS Penske team) in the final, a high-flying duel was in the offing... and it was Pascal Wehrlein who came out on top. Vandoorne was on the front row, with Vergne 4th on the grid.

Solid right to the end

At 3:03 pm, when the lights went out on the grid, the weather was a little darker. Nothing threatening, but persistent clouds filtered out the sun. No matter, the temperature was mild and the start went off without a hitch. The calm was short-lived, however, as Edoardo Mortara's Mahindra went off the track, prompting the safety car to intervene.

By this time, Stoffel Vandoorne was leading the race and his team-mate was 5th.

"I handled the start of the race very well," said Stoffel Vandoorne. "I took the lead and managed to hold on to it by activating my first Attack Mode, then it's just a shame that I didn't manage to do the same with the second attack mode.

"If we'd been able to get between the two Jaguars and disrupt their strategy, we'd certainly have had another race. After the safety car returned to the garage, at the halfway stage of the race we found ourselves in a rather curious situation, with two Jaguars, two DS Penskes, two Porsches and two Nissans following each other in the top eight places."

After the safety car intervened again, this time following the exit of Nico Müller (Abt Cupra), it became clear that all the drivers were wisely waiting for the race directors' decision on the number of extra laps to be covered following the stoppages.

In the end, the number of laps was increased from 29 to 31, and it looked as though the finish would be a hard-fought affair. But the Jaguar strategy meant that it was too late to attempt any reasonable attack. Stoffel Vandoorne and Vergne took the points for 3rd and 4th places, a fine operation for DS Penske, which had always indicated that its priority was to get both cars in the points. Once again, they have done just that!

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