Pascal Wehrlein arrived in Cape Town with a spectacular start to the season and eager to cement his lead in the debut of the Gen3 era of Formula E. However, things didn’t go as planned and he had a bumpy ride on South African soil.
The German had been in the top 10 all weekend and headed into the duels in qualifying, losing out to Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy, but still secured sixth place on the grid.
The Porsche car has been a powerhouse in fuel efficiency so far this season, and appeared to be on track for another win with a conservative strategy, giving up a place to Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) from the line.
However, only halfway through the first lap, Wehrlein made a mistake at Turn 9 and misjudged his braking point, sliding straight into Buemi’s car and taking them both out of the race; Wehrlein ended up with a broken suspension, while the Swiss recovered impressively to fifth place at the checkered flag.
“It was a painful day because anything was possible,” said the Porsche flag-bearer. “It was my fault and a clear mistake on my part. I braked too late and too hard, I locked the wheels, I just couldn’t avoid the collision.”
“I apologize and I’m sorry for the team and my crew. We win together and lose together and in Sao Paulo we will attack again.”
Wehrlein had finished in the top four during the previous races, which leaves him a good stretch in first place despite not scoring in Cape Town.
With Jake Dennis in 13th place in the race, the German accumulates an 18-point lead with the Brazilian E-Prix coming up on March 25 in the city of Sao Paulo.
Penalty and Future Focus
It should be noted that, in addition to not scoring points in South Africa, Wehrlein will start three places behind and with a two-point penalty. “I still don’t have my eyes on the title,” says the Porsche driver. “It’s very early in the season and it’s the individual results and the races that count for me at the moment.
He assured that Cape Town did not represent a considerable defeat due to the fact that his nearest rival failed to achieve a significant place in the final table.