FE: Pascal Wehrlein takes first Race At Home win at Monaco

The ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge returns to a virtual Monaco E-Prix street circuit for Round 3, and Max Gunther leads the standings after his hat-trick of wins.

Maximilian Gunther, in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport, has been in impressive form in taking all of the wins so far, including the test/pre-season round (Monaco E-Prix circuit).

A reminder of the basic details for the Race At Home Challenge (Drivers’ Race):

  • In-game damage set to 80%
  • The full 24-car-grid of real-life Formula E drivers.
  • Race Royale/Elimination-Style – 12 drivers are left to get to the checkered flag
  • Championship points (awarded like in the real championship – top 10 awarded points & one point offered for fastest lap in the race and one for pole position during qualifying)

Another reminder also worth mentioning is the format of the race day.

The Race At Home Challenge consists of two grids – one full of sim-racers, and professional racing drivers and the other is the full FE grid.

After a practice session, off-camera/broadcast, the drivers in their respective races are organised into groups for ‘Group Qualifying’ – they will have one flying lap each, like the FE drivers that get into Super Pole in the real-life races.

The sim-racer/pro-driver grid have their Qualifying and a 15 lap race sessions before the FE drivers.

Also, drivers do not have to apply energy-saving strategy as the virtual series focuses on the close on-track action.

Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) topped the practice session times, over six-and-a-half tenths ahead of his teammate and Jerome D’Ambrosio and Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-Benz EQ).

The Group Qualifying sessions took place, where the drivers in their current positions in the championship would be split into the four groups as the FE qualifying sessions would be in the real championship (drivers will go for an out-lap, flying lap, and in-lap only – like in Super Pole).

In qualifying, Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) qualified 0.010 ahead of Vandoorne with a time of 51.692 to secure pole position.

They were both ahead of ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Eduardo Mortara in P3 (0.029 behind Pascal), and Max Gunther in his BMW started in sixth position.

Image Credit: © ABB Formula E

Unsurprisingly, the usual lap one chaos took place which left Mortara to fall down to tenth, and for Mitch Evans to move down the order as the turn one pile-up took place. The order of the pack lower down from the front runners was also disrupted.

Behind Wehrlein (out-of-shot) was Vandoorne, Gunther, and Neel Jani (Tag Heuer Porsche) Image Credit: © ABB Formula E

In the following laps, Pascal Wehrlein managed to build his lead after being 1.5 seconds in front of Stoffel Vandoorne, who was tagged by Max Gunther behind him.

Unlike the test round (which took place at the Monaco Street Circuit), the race did not have the top two fighting for positions but there was a clear focus on bringing home valuable points finishes; the drivers’ standings posed a close battle between the top runners.

The pack of cars bunched up at the start – Image Credit: © ABB Formula E

Both DS Techeetah drivers, Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix Da Costa were caught up in the chaos to sit at the lower end of the grid. They were both eliminated early on, just like Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Nyck De Vries.

The reigning F2 champion has stated his struggle to get to grips with sim racing but had shown skill at the previous round where both Silver Arrows secured double-points finishes.

Ma Qing Hua fighting closely against Andre Lotterer until a mistake at Turn 3 – Image Credit: © ABB Formula E

Following on into the race, the gap from Wehrlein (P1) and Gunther (P3) was up to three seconds after the first four laps.

Sam Bird, Envision Virgin Racing, was in 20th position and received a 10-second time penalty and was eventually eliminated after his contribution to the turn one pile-up.

Home resident and podium-sitter at last season’s Monaco E-Prix, Felipe Massa (ROKiT Venturi Racing) was on Alex Sims in 14th. He struggled to pass and sat behind until the end in 15th position.

Gunther was in third behind Vandoorne and Wehrlein in the final two laps. A gap of three seconds still split the front three drivers.

Pascal led from start to finish in dominant fashion – Image Credit: © ABB Formula E

Having taken the fastest lap of the race, and leading from pole to the chequered flag, Pascal Wehrlein became the second driver so far to have taken a victory at the Race At Home Challenge.

Vandoorne claimed his first (official) FE Race At Home podium and Gunther came in P3.

12 drivers in total were eliminated (relative to severe damage, and battle-royale-elimination format) and left the top-11 drivers to fight it out to the end.

Wehrlein performed well at the last round at the Electric Docks but crashed during his battle against Max Gunther for the lead. This dominant performance at Monaco showed that he poses a threat to current title fighters Stoffel Vandoorne and Maximillian Gunther.

You can tune into the broadcasts on various twitch streams that sim racers and FE drivers are hosting (like Stoffel Vandoorne, Nyck De Vries, Jean Eric-Vergne and others).

You can also tune into the official ABB Formula E channels to watch the season of FE esports action: Twitch, Facebook, and Youtube.

Formula E Race at Home Challenge – 2020 Calendar
Date Race Time (British Summer Time)
April 18 (Completed) Pre-Season Test Round 15:30 BST
April 2 (Completed) Round 1 15:30 BST
May 2 (Completed) Round 2 15:30 BST
May 9 (Completed) Round 3 15:30 BST
May 16 Round 4 15:30 BST
May 23 Round 5 15:30 BST
May 30 Round 6 15:30 BST
June 6 Round 7 15:30 BST
June 7 Round 8 – Grand Final 15:30 BST