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Envision Racing and Frijns bag point on the final lap in Saudi Arabia

Robin Frijns came home 10th at the opening race of the Diriyah E-Prix weekend, claiming a vital championship point as Sébastien Buemi ended up 12th

Round two of the 2023–24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship saw Envision Racing and Robin Frijns claim 10th place and a points finish under the lights after the first race of the Diriyah E-Prix double header.

The opening race of the weekend featured an absorbing race-long battle for the victory, eventually claimed by Jake Dennis. Further back, Frijns spent almost all of the 37-lap race behind the McLaren of Jake Hughes, only to pass the British driver on the final lap, and claim his first point of the season after a disappointing race last time out in Mexico.

Taking to an incredibly slippery track in qualifying, it was Frijns who fared best out of the Envision Racing duo.

Frijns qualified 12th, with team-mate Buemi kicking off his weekend in Saudi Arabia 13th on the grid.

As the weekend’s opening race got underway, pole-sitter Jean-Éric Vergne emerged from the opening sequence of turns in front, with Frijns gaining a place and moving up to 11th, followed by Buemi who also moved forward.

Following a settled sequence of opening laps, the battle between Vergne and Mitch Evans came to the boil with the two making contact, as Dennis assumed the lead on lap five. Further back, Frijns looked to hassle Jake Hughes in 10th, and move into the points-paying positions.

By lap 10, Dennis remained at the head of the pack with the Envision pair sitting in 11th and 12th respectively, Buemi closely following Frijns, whilst defending from Edoardo Mortara in the Mahindra machine.

At the halfway point both Envision Racing machines sat mid pack, with little change occurring throughout the order. On lap 21, Hughes and Frijns took their first Attack Mode phase of the race, shuffling the pack momentarily as Frijns and Buemi swapped positions.

By lap 30, Frijns emerged once more as the front-running Envision Racing driver, holding 11th, with Buemi following in 12th. As the chequered flag loomed, 10th place and a single point looked to be just out of reach for Frijns, the Dutch driver seemingly unable to overtake in the McLaren of Hughes.

However, Frijns was not giving up. As up front, Dennis won from second place man Vergne and Cassidy in third, and, it was all change on the final lap as Frijns made his way around Hughes to get points on the board, with Buemi claiming 12th and looking to improve in Saturday’s second race of the weekend.

“It was a difficult race,” Frijns said.

“It’s very difficult to overtake so we knew it was going to be tough after qualifying P12. At least we took a point out of it, which could be important at the end of the season.

“We will come back tomorrow and aim to qualify a bit nearer the front to make life a bit easier for ourselves – and hopefully we will get more points in the bag too.”

Drivers’ standings (after Rd 2):
1. Pascal Wehrlein, 32pts
2. Nick Cassidy, 31pts
3. Jean-Éric Vergne, 29pts
4. Jake Dennis, 28pts
5. Mitch Evans, 20pts
6. Sébastien Buemi, 18pts
13. Robin Frijns, 1pts

Teams’ standings (after Rd 2):
1. Jaguar TCS Racing, 51pts
2. Andretti Formula E, 37, pts
3. DS Penske, 33pts
4. Porsche Formula E Team, 32pts
5. Envision Racing, 19pts