Puebla E-Prix: Wehrlein disqualified, di Grassi leads Audi 1-2

Lucas di Grassi won the Puebla E-Prix, leading home Rene Rast in an Audi 1-2, after Porsche's race dominator Pascal Wehrlein was disqualified for a technical infringement just as he crossed the finish line.

Wehrlein and Porsche were remarkably disqualified from their inaugural Formula E victories to hand di Grassi his third win in Mexico over Audi teammate Rast.

Wehrlein led comfortably from pole for the first-ever Puebla E-Prix and crossed the line with a clear 3.6s margin but was then sent to the bottom of the timing screens.

The reprimand was dealt for the team not declaring the tyres on Wehrlein’s car, which would deny both parties their first series wins – both having secured their second poles.

That in turn rewarded the excellent recovery drive of di Grassi to the top step of the podium as the Brazilian recorded his first and Audi’s first triumph since Berlin in 2019. 

Rast finished only 0.497s in arrears to record his first podium and the team its third 1-2 in Formula E ahead of its pending exit at the end of the term. Edoardo Mortara completed the podium for Venturi.

Wehrlein had found clear air off the line when Oliver Rowland bogged down massively from second on the grid, having entered the race without radio communication, and dropped to 14th. The Porsche driver then made an early bid for the attack mode joker lap but was able to limit the damage and return to the circuit up in third in a squabble with the BMW Andretti cars.

As Jean-Eric Vergne was forced into rapid avoiding action to miss the slow Nissan e.dams of Rowland on the dirty side of the grid, it allowed fifth-starting Maximilian Gunther to wrest third into Turn 1 behind teammate Jake Dennis.

But the race was soon after put on ice when Nick Cassidy clattered the concrete wall on the exit of Turn 2 seemingly unaided. That snapped his front-left suspension and brought out the safety car and at the restart Wehrlein made an early breakaway.

A second intervention was called for to recover the wrecked Jaguar Racing machine of Sam Bird, who fell victim to the blind exit of attack mode that filters back into the racing line. As he merged back on to track, Alex Lynn was left with nowhere to go and clattered across the front with his Mahindra Racing machine to pincer Bird against the wall. 

Di Grassi passed Alexander Sims for sixth without the attack mode boost on the run into Turn 1. A similar move on the Jaguar of Mitch Evans returned fifth and then he capitalised on the slowing Gunther, who was caught up in a battle with Mortara at Turn 11.

With another precise move coming at Turn 1 on Mortara, di Grassi climbed up to second to eventually inherit his third victory in Mexico. 

Despite Sims colliding with Vergne in a similar attack mode exit shunt to that endured by his teammate Lynn, the Brit – stymied by a lack of practice running following a suspected battery glitch – earned fourth ahead of Dennis. 

Da Costa, meanwhile, recovered from 13th on the grid but a potential top-four spot went begging when he was delayed after an aborted attempted pass on Gunther in the closing stages.

Stoffel Vandoorne salvaged points from starting 21st in an eventual seventh, as Evans ran to eighth ahead of the second Mercedes of Nyck de Vries, who fought back after he was spun around by Robin Frijns.

Lynn completed the top 10 ahead of NIO 333 driver Oliver Turvey and a late struggle on overheating tyres eventually relegated Gunther to 12th. 

Formula E Puebla E-Prix race results:

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