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ABB Formula E - Dominant Jake Dennis takes giant step forward title as he returns to the top of the rostrum in Rome

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The early-season ABB FIA Formula E World Championship leader has re-installed himself as the favourite for glory following a rout on the streets of Rome...

Jake Dennis has put himself in pole position to clinch the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship crown on home soil in London in a fortnight’s time, after taking a commanding lights-to-flag victory in Rome today (16 July).

Despite not having won since the Mexico City curtain-raiser, Dennis’ laudable consistency in recent outings had kept him firmly in the hunt for honours arriving in Italy, and around the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR, the Avalanche Andretti ace secured the top spot on the starting grid for round 14 of the campaign.

From there, the Briton artfully controlled proceedings throughout, keeping his pursuers at arm’s length and defending where necessary before edging away in the closing stages to cross the finish line more than three seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

Dennis’ fifth career success in the all-electric single-seater series – allied to the race’s fastest lap – has catapulted him 24 points clear at the summit of the standings with just 58 remaining to play for in London, where he has triumphed in each of the past two seasons.

The reason his advantage is so large has much to do with the events of lap two in Rome, when Saturday winner Mitch Evans – running third for Jaguar TCS Racing – locked up into Turn Seven and rode up over the back of the Envision Racing machine of Nick Cassidy, who had led the title chase at the start of the E-Prix. The resulting damage ultimately forced Evans out of the race, with his countryman only able to recover as far as 14th.

Following the previous day’s disappointment, Norman Nato delivered a welcome fillip for Nissan Formula E Team by snaring the runner-up spoils to vault into the championship top ten. The Frenchman had to contend with front wing damage caused by early contact and ran low on energy late on, but he defended his position well to reach the rostrum for the second time in his Formula E career.

Sam Bird wound up third for Jaguar TCS Racing as he battled back from his race-stopping accident 24 hours earlier. The British driver conserved his energy well and at one stage looked to be primed to take the fight to Dennis, but he was ultimately unable to find a way past Nato’s Nissan.

Maserati MSG Racing duo Edoardo Mortara and Maximilian Günther finished strongly in fourth and sixth on the team’s home turf, sandwiching the Envision Racing car of 2015/16 champion Sébastien Buemi, whose late Attack Mode strategy did not quite pay off.

TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein clung on to his fading championship chances by scything from 15th to seventh, with defending title-holder Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske) returning to the points for the first time since Jakarta in eighth. Dan Ticktum – who ran as high as fourth for NIO 333 Racing – eventually placed ninth, as ABT CUPRA Formula E Team’s Nico Müller scored for the second consecutive day in tenth.

The season will conclude at London’s indoor/outdoor ExCeL Circuit, with an eagerly-anticipated double-header finale in the British capital on 29/30 July.

Jake Dennis, No. 27, Avalanche Andretti Formula E team, said:

“I am honestly lost for words how we have just won that race. It was so tactical inside the cockpit, trying to keep Bird within a certain distance because obviously he is going to try and help Mitch. I really needed Norman as my wingman that race, and we worked together really well. I gave him space to help him defend when Bird went on ATTACK MODE and then when I needed the same he did just that. Wow, what a race, what a team for giving me this incredible car. I have said it a million times, but after yesterday's mistake we turned it around. Full redemption. I can't wait to celebrate with them. Now we have a home race in London, we are big there. I expect to see a lot of British fans - make sure you all come out guys! We are going to try and do the business there, but I am going to enjoy this for now. I need an ice bath!”

Norman Nato, No. 17, Nissan Formula E Team, said:

“I feel speechless at the moment. In qualifying we delivered a really strong performance, but I thought we could do what we can but I didn't think we can fight this guy (Dennis) because in races we are still missing a bit of efficiency. But honestly I felt really good since the beginning of the race, I knew I was down on energy so I tried to manage, and honestly did a superb race as well. That's the kind of race we like because we fight hard but in the end it was clean. I am really happy for the team but also for myself after such a difficult beginning to the season, to beat the teams as we are doing right now, it shows all the progress we have made is starting to pay off. I had damage, I think from Mitch in turn four, when we were side by side, and he went on throttle and got a bit of oversteer and touched my front wing, so I had a bit of damage. I was a bit worried it was going on the tyre or inside of the car. It could have been bad, but I was feeling so good and I had a go on Jake. It was maybe a bit too ambitious, and I think at this time he was managing, and he saw I was closing in. At the end I had even more damage on my front wing, for two or three laps I saw the thing flying, but at least it came when everything was going well, so it's our day!”

Sam Bird, No. 10, Jaguar TCS Racing, said:

“That was the most I've needed podium in a long time. I wouldn't say it is necessarily happy, it is more relief. I am happy to bring home valuable points for Jaguar in our quest to try and win the teams' title, it is going to be an extremely hard fight when we get to London, we need to make sure we do our homework, try and improve a little bit, but what a heck of a fight it is going to be. I really didn't know what to expect from myself, that is something that in all honesty I have struggled with recently, I don't know what I am going to be doing once I get in the car. I have actually been really quick most of the year, I have just made too many errors, too much luck has gone wrong, or not gone my way. But I have made too many mistakes and I have paid the price for that. But nice and relieved to get a result today.”