Wehrlein wins crash-strewn Race at Home event in Monaco
Pascal Wehrlein became the second winner in the Formula E Race at Home Challenge Esports series after he escaped a multi-car second-corner collision around a virtual Monaco circuit.
The Mahindra driver was left without a near rival and so ran away to win by 3.63s seconds in the race, which runs in partnership with Motorsport Games to raise money the UNICEF coronavirus relief fund.
Wehrlein put a stop to Stoffel Vandoorne’s monopoly of pole positions, beating the Mercedes driver by just 0.01s as runaway championship leader Maximilian Gunther could only manage sixth on the grid.
The top four cars made comparable launches, but Vandoorne ran deep into the braking zone for Sainte Devote in an attempt to mount an early challenge on Wehrlein. He tried to pass around the outside, but his wide line left him prey to attack from the chasing Venturi of Edoardo Mortara who had started third on the grid.
Mortara caught the inside rear wheel of Vandoorne, which pitched the Belgian into a spin at the second corner where the FE layout runs downhill to the Nouvelle Chicane. Vandoorne was fortunate to be hit straight and continue on, despite damage levels on the rFactor 2 videogame increased to 80% from the 25% for the pre-season test race on the same track.
But it caused a huge pile-up behind, as reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne drove his DS Techeetah underneath Mortara’s car, who was then subsequently mounted by an unsighted Mitch Evans. The ensuing melee allowed Wehrlein to run clear to a 1.8s lead at the end of the opening tour, which then built to his eventual near-4s triumph over Vandoorne.
Gunther, whose brace of victories in the opening two rounds of the series came after crashes for early leader Vandoorne, was again the beneficiary and escaped the carnage to rise to third place.
Porsche driver Neel Jani was also afforded the chance to climb from seventh on the grid to fourth ahead of Robin Frijns – who slipped a position to third in the points as a result. Oliver Rowland led Nissan’s charge with sixth place ahead of the second Porsche of Andre Lotter and Dragon driver Nico Muller.
Ma Qinghua was a strong ninth for NIO 333, while Mortara eventually scrambled home to round out the top 10.
In the parallel Challenge grid race for experienced sim racers, Kevin Siggy dominated proceedings from pole position to claim the spoils over Lucas Muller. The lights-to-flag victory means Siggy retains his place at the top of the standings, with the eventual virtual champion winning a real-life FE car test later this year.
Formula E Race at Home Challenge - Championship Standings
1. Maximilian Gunther 65
2. Pascal Wehrlein 44
3. Robin Frijns 40
4. Stoffel Vandoorne 40
5. Neel Jani 24
6. Nico Muller 19
7. Oliver Rowland 16
8. Oliver Turvey 14
9. Nyck de Vries 6
10. Andre Lotterer 6
11. James Calado 4
12. Felipe Massa 4
13. Jerome D’Ambrosio 2
14. Ma Qinghua 2
15. Alexander Sims 1
16. Sebastien Buemi 1
17. Edoardo Mortara 1
Watch: ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge at Monaco
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