Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) scored a maiden ABB FIA Formula E World Championship podium in the CBMM Niobium Puebla E-Prix Round 8, with the Kiwi describing his first taste of silverware as "special" and "a relief" after near misses earlier this season.
Envision Virgin Racing's Nick Cassidy steered to a first podium in Formula E in the Puebla E-Prix Round 9, finally capitalising on front-running pace and potential after near misses early on in Season 7.
The Kiwi's side of the garage assembled a strong race-day having been kept up overnight with Cassidy making a mess of his Audi e-tron FE07 in race one after he clipped a wall and terminally damaged the car's chassis, requiring a full rebuild.
Qualifying eighth, he managed to put everything together on the way to third and silverware - utilising ATTACK MODE late on, which saw him catch the lead trio of Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing), Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein and Nissan e.dams' Oliver Rowland.
Entering the final throes, and Cassidy found himself up on usable energy, too. Rowland touched a wall under the attentions of the Envision Virgin Racing driver, allowing Cassidy to make his move and hold firm to the line. Wehrlein's penalty made things even sweeter with a net second-placed finish just rewards for his team's hard work and a relief for Cassidy himself.
"It feels special, and more of a relief than anything," he says. "I’ve been disappointed with my first few races and feel like this should have come earlier. We’ve had a lot of potential this year and have been super-fast in moments but we’ve haven’t had so much to show for it so it’s great to change that.
"I felt like we were the fastest car in the race and I was trying to push a different strategy which ended up working. It was a little bit risky, but we had the pace to do it and it really paid off.
"Oliver (Rowland) made a mistake and clipped the inside wall, then ran wide onto the marbles in Turn 13 and I got by there. I was about a percent-and-a-half up on energy and I wasn’t expecting him to have a go at me back into Turn 1 but it worked out.
"I felt a bit guilty overnight because I made a messy, average mistake in Round 8 and gave my team a lot of work to do overnight so it’s nice to repay their efforts too – it was mega for them and for myself.
"These things happen in racing and I’m glad to have a team that’s strong because we had a massive rebuild and right from lap one today, everything was fine. I clipped the wall but the angle meant the tyre went into the chassis and we had to change the tub – it was one of those things. I really appreciate their hard work."
Cassidy has shown strong pace in his rookie campaign, most notably in Rome before a software error saw him skate out of first spot on the opening lap having taken Julius Baer Pole Position for Round 4.
Though he's not reached the heights of his experienced teammate, and standings leader heading to Mexico, Robin Frijns, Cassidy has been quick. Experience counts for a lot in Formula E, and putting all of the pieces of the jigsaw together is tough for any driver - even one as supremely talented as the Kiwi, who has Japanese Super GT and Super Formula titles to his name.
"Putting a day together in Formula E isn’t easy," says the 26-year-old. "A lot of guys are quick on a lap but to put it all together on any single race day is not easy. There have been sessions this year where I should have taken a seventh or eighth in qualifying and tried to go to pole, ending up further back. We changed that approach here and it worked out.
"I was leading the race in Rome and went out at Turn 1 through a mistake, not of my own but we’re a team and you don’t come out blaming anybody else – that’s part of racing. Opportunities like that slipped away, so we came here 18th in the championship but I didn’t feel we were an 18th-placed car and Round 9 showed that."
Published on 28th June 2021