Riyadh: António Félix da Costa won the first-ever ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race in Cape Town to claim his first win for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team thanks to an audacious overtaking manoeuvre executed not once but twice to take the lead.
The Season 6 champion returned to form in the previous race in Hyderabad with a third place finish. But on a new track that saw Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz claim Julius Baer Pole Position with the fastest lap in Formula E history at an average speed of 154.987kmh, Da Costa’s devastating drive delivered a well-earned victory.
The Porsche driver started in 11th but worked his way through the top 10 and into the top three by Lap 20. With the pack squeezed by a Full Course Yellow on Lap 21, the top four were split by just 1.5 seconds.
Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy had outdone Sacha Fenestraz and Maximilian Günther (Maserati MSG Racing) through the first round of ATTACK MODE activations, going longer before opting for his initial 50kW boost and easing into the lead.
Da Costa’s move for P1 was one of the best motorsport fans will ever see. On Lap 24 his outrageous pass to steal the lead from Cassidy at the trickiest part of the track – a tough Turn 7, 8 and 9 combination that had been the site of three crashes earlier in the weekend - the Season 6 champion went around the outside of Turn 7 and held his position inside at Turn 8.
The Portuguese pulled enough of a gap to take his second mandatory ATTACK MODE and retake the lead but he missed the activation loop – handing the lead to Hyderabad winner Vergne a lap later. The Frenchman had never had back-to-back wins to this point.
The former teammates then fought to the flag – Vergne having taken just one of his 11 victories to-date by more than two seconds – and fresh off a vintage defensive drive to win in Hyderabad. The gap was half-a-second with the full 30 laps down and just two added for the time lost to cautions.
On Lap 21, Da Costa then tried the same stunning overtaking manoeuvre once again, this time on Vergne – one of the toughest competitors on the track. As before, there was no room to breathe but Da Costa once again went around the outside of Turn 7 into 8 and 9 and on to a memorable race win under severe pressure from JEV.