– Preview: Diriyah E-Prix, 26 and 27 January 2024, Rounds 2 and 3 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
– The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team fields two Porsche 99X Electric with Mexico winner Pascal Wehrlein (GER) and António Félix da Costa (POR).
– Pascal Wehrlein won both night races in Diriyah last year.
– The Porsche customer team Andretti Formula E competes with world champion Jake Dennis (GBR) and Norman Nato (FRA).
– Pascal Wehrlein leads the drivers’ championship after his victory in Mexico; the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team ranks first in the team classification.
On the back of its triumph with the Porsche 99X Electric at the opening round in Mexico, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team travels to the Diriyah E-Prix feeling confident. Two night races will be held on the historic street circuit in the suburb of Riyadh on 26 and 27 January. A total of four Porsche 99X Electric racing cars will line up on the grid to contest rounds two and three of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
For Pascal Wehrlein, it seemed like a folktale from 1001 Nights: at the wheel of his Porsche 99X Electric, he won both races at last year’s Diriyah E-Prix and took the lead in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for the first time in his career. After clinching pole position and winning the season opener in Mexico, he and the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team now travel to Saudi Arabia as the championship leaders. He is determined to achieve another strong result on the challenging racetrack located north-west of the capital Riyadh.
His works driver colleague António Félix da Costa experienced a difficult start to the season in Mexico in the Weissach team’s second Porsche 99X Electric and had to retire early from the race. For the 2020 Formula E champion, his intention for the doubleheader in Diriyah is to score as many points as possible and maintain contact with the leaders. He has fond memories of Saudi Arabia: he won the first Formula E race contested in Diriyah, in 2018.
The Porsche customer team Andretti Formula E will also tackle the only night races on the Formula E calendar with two Porsche 99X Electric cars. The racing team owned by the US motorsport legend Michael Andretti will line up on the grid with world champion Jake Dennis and Frenchman Norman Nato.
Comments on the Diriyah E-Prix
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: « Thanks to Pascal’s victory in Mexico, our start to the season was a huge success and a confirmation of the work we’ve done. To kick off the season with pole position and a win is fantastic. A success like this gives the team even more of a boost. Of course, Mexico was just the beginning of a long season. We have to monitor everything closely from race to race and continue to work on the things we identify as weaknesses. Pascal won both races in Diriyah last year with a sensational performance. Pascal, the Porsche 99X Electric and the racetrack proved to be the perfect package. But that doesn’t change our objective. We approach every race the same way; we’re fighting for victories and podium finishes and we aim to bring home as many points as possible. »
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): « After our win in Mexico, the team and I are even more motivated. It’s a great feeling to start the season like this because it shows that we’ve done our homework. We were much stronger in qualifying and we didn’t lose any speed in the race either. That makes me confident about Diriyah. But just because we won both races there last year doesn’t mean that we’ll automatically be as strong this time. We have to continue to work hard and improve because the other teams will also make progress. We simply mustn’t let up. The track in Diriyah is very special and tends to improve significantly during the race weekend, so we have to constantly adapt our setup. »
António Félix da Costa, Porsche works driver (#13): « After my difficult start to the season, I’m looking forward to Diriyah. It’s a cool event for more reasons than being the only night race of the season. If things don’t go so smoothly, like for me in Mexico, you can’t afford to let it get you down. You have to be self-critical, you’re allowed to be annoyed by your mistakes for a while, but then you have to move on. It’s the bad days that teach you the most. In any case, I’m taking a lot of positives from Mexico to Diriyah. »
The Diriyah E-Prix is contested on a challenging street circuit north-west of Riyadh. The 2,495 kilometre track featuring 21 turns is set to the exotic backdrop of old fortifications and a historic city wall.