ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edoardo Mortara followed up a podium in the Puebla E-Prix Round 8 with a long-awaited return to the top step in Round 9 to take the Drivers' World Championship lead with a huge 40-point haul in Mexico.
Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) made a winning return at the Autodromo Miguel E. Abed in Puebla, following up a podium in Round 8 with a trip to the top step in Round 9 - fending off mountains of pressure from Pascal Wehrlein's Porsche.
The Monegasque team looked strong all weekend, particularly at the hands of Mortara, and carried forward its podium a day earlier to go better yet with that win on Sunday, after a season-best third in qualifying ahead of the second portion of the Puebla double-header.
The Swiss-Italian immediately gained ground off the line, with a good getaway from the cleaner line allowing him to get the jump on Wehrlein to slot in-behind early race leader Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams).
Rowland went early with his ATTACK MODE activations and later made contact with a wall, which meant Mortara could profit as he retained his lead through his second dose of the 35kW boost - rejoining the main circuit from the ATTACK MODE "Joker Lane" at Turn 8 ahead of the Brit.
From there, with a clear track out-front, Wehrlein's pace and the German's energy advantage had Venturi and Mortara scrambling. Mortara's urgency drew on reserves he didn't know he had, and for more than 10 laps he was able to not only up his pace but save usable energy relative to the Porsche in tow - much to his disbelief.
"I knew that it was going to be a proper challenge," said Mortara. "So, when you’re ready from Round 8, it’s very difficult for the guys with a lot of energy, high temperatures and it’s very easy to make mistakes. We didn’t make any, and I’m so glad we made top spot – I couldn’t believe it. To score 40 points on a race weekend is mega. It’s the best weekend of my career. I’m just speechless.
"There wasn’t panic but there was urgency to increase the pace, for sure. I knew that he had more energy and I needed to find a way of going quicker but saving more energy than him. I don’t know how we did it but we managed it for 10 laps. He put me under immense pressure but in the end, everything worked out.
"Pascal was very strong, and we decided to use a bit more energy in the first half of the race. In the second part, it was difficult to save energy and resist him – I was also struggling with the tyres and the track was becoming difficult."
After that Round 1 podium in Saudi Arabia, it'd been a barren spell for Mortara, with a best of fourth in the second race in Rome between the season opener and Diriyah. Pace and promise has been there for Venturi, however, with Mortara's rookie teammate Norman Nato denied silverware in the Italian capital and in Valencia.
The 40-point haul sees the Monegasque squad mid-pack in the Teams' running now, though, with Mortara heading the way in the Drivers' standings by 10 points to prior leader Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing).
"We were lucky after Pascal’s issues on Saturday but we were so happy to be there again on Sunday," continued Mortara. "We’re trying to maximise our potential at every track and every race. We do our very best all the time and carry out intelligent strategies in races. I think that’s paid off. We’re still early in the season but I’m extremely happy with how things are going so far."