Crafty Cassidy hits back but Dennis is in the hot seat

Nick Cassidy won his third Formula E race of the season with a stunning performance in Portland

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The 2023 Portland E-Prix was a bizarre race as the slipstreaming fun returned to Formula E. There were two safety cars, plenty of four and five-wide moments, as you do, and Nick Cassidy came out on top.

It was all about timing your charge to the front and that’s not easy. Just like he did in the second Berlin E-Prix, Cassidy got it right and is now one point behind new championship leader Jake Dennis.

Dennis was equally as impressive and both drivers have emerged with a small advantage over the rest of the field, which is important because the final two locations in Rome and London are expected to be more flat out.

How did Cassidy win?

Cassidy started from 10th and immediately got himself into the top six, which was arguably the safest place to be as you could manage your race better, rather than constantly being side by side.

Following Nico Muller‘s big crash, Cassidy found himself in the lead one lap after the restart and allowed Antonio Felix da Costa to take first place.

Jake Dennis leads the pack at the 2023 Portland E-Prix | Formula E

Da Costa went for it with 11 laps to go, so the field became more spread out. The likes of Jean-Eric Vergne and Maximilian Gunther dropped back, while Mitch Evans and Sam Bird were now also in the mix.

“As a team and myself in the car I thought that was the right moment to go to the front,” said Da Costa. “It turned out Nick was a tiny bit more clever than us.

Pascal [Wehrlein] was leading the championship coming into the race and the goal was to help him. I was waiting for him to come, and if he did I was going to be there to try and help him win. But I knew if he wasn’t there, it would be my turn to have a go and that’s what we did.”

Da Costa spent five laps out in front before Cassidy retook the lead. During that time, the Envision driver was able to save enough energy to attack all the way to the chequered flag himself.

Dennis comes up short again

Dennis‘ second place on Saturday in Portland was his fifth consecutive Formula E podium, but he still hasn’t won since the season-opener in Mexico City.

He was the last of the leading drivers to take his second attack mode and a key moment came with five laps to go, as he overtook Da Costa for second place and got alongside Cassidy for the lead at Turn 4, but couldn’t make it stick.

Then, Da Costa got back past Dennis down the back straight into the final high-speed chicane, so the Andretti driver was stuck in third until the final lap.

Da Costa briefly took the lead at the end of Lap 29, but it only lasted three corners as Cassidy smartly got back ahead, knowing track position finally became important.

Nick Cassidy celebrates victory at the 2023 Portland E-Prix | Formula E

From there, Cassidy didn’t relinquish the lead and Dennis was only able to overtake Da Costa on the last lap of the race.

“We had a good day,” said Dennis. “After that flag I was a bit disappointed because of the way the race panned out. It was really difficult.

“Nevertheless, there were some really difficult overtakes. You have got some guys fighting for the championship and some have nothing to lose.

“A race like today is all about risk. I had to keep my powder dry, come home with an undamaged car and I knew I could get a good result.

“That’s three seconds in a row now, so I want to taste the win again in Rome. But we can be happy with that.”

Jake Dennis ahead of the 2023 Portland E-Prix | Formula E

Cassidy the lead Jaguar

The title race has turned into a Porsche versus Jaguar powertrain war and Cassidy was the one to shine from the latter stable.

Envision have been a match for the factory Jaguar team all season and Cassidy is driving superbly, almost going unnoticed in the middle of the season.

Dennis is just one point ahead of the New Zealander, with Wehrlein 16 points off the championship leader and Evans a further 16 points adrift.

It seems the Porsche powertrain was slightly better than the Jaguar, as has been the case at the majority of races, but Cassidy is making the difference.

“I’ve had a good run in America the last couple of years,” said Cassidy. “I love racing here. That race was fun.

“It’s close. The guys racing now they are top [notch]. Jake was the reference today. He did an amazing job in qualifying.

“He was unlucky to be starting on pole. Today wasn’t the race to be doing that. Antonio in these races is always fantastic as well. It’s close, it’s fun. It’s Formula E.

“I saw Mitch up with me at stages, I saw Sam [Bird], I saw Seb [Buemi] and we all started far back so credit to Jaguar and Envision. What a car. What a powertrain.”

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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