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Formula E

Da Costa silences doubters with emphatic Misano victory

Antonio Felix da Costa claimed his first victory since the Season 9 Cape Town E-Prix, on a weekend where his future has been thrown into doubt.

Da Costa Valencia
To news overview © Simon Galloway / Formula E

Antonio Felix da Costa mastered the peloton to win the inaugural Misano E-Prix, on a weekend where his Porsche future has been thrown into doubt.

The rumours ahead of the weekend were that da Costa is at risk of losing his Porsche seat for next season, although he responded in fine fashion by winning at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

The Porsche driver preserved his energy and timed his move to the front to perfection, in what was a return of the extreme peloton. Oliver Rowland finished second, marking his fourth consecutive podium.

Reigning world champion Jake Dennis completed the podium, whilst Maximilian Günther, Dan Ticktum, Mitch Evans, Sergio Sette Camara, Jean-Eric Vergne, Norman Nato and Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top 10.

A race for position for the final five laps

It was Evans who made the best start from pole position but immediately yielded first place, as the peloton-style quickly took effect.

21 of the 22 cars finished the opening lap unscathed, with the odd one out being Edoardo Mortara who retired with a technical problem. The lead changed several times across the opening laps, with nobody having once again wanted to lead the peloton.

There were fears ahead of the race that the peloton would perhaps be more extreme than Portland last season, where a record-breaking 403 overtakes occurred.

Those fears came true, with Nick Cassidy and Jean-Eric Vergne having collided at the Turn 8/9 chicane on the fifth lap. The Jaguar driver was furious with the DS Penske veteran, and complained to the team that he was pushed into the wall.

Cassidy immediately pitted for repairs, as did Pascal Wehrlein, after he went into the back of Vergne as well. The stewards quickly placed Vergne under investigation, whilst Cassidy retired late on.

Like in Portland, it was a case of conserve energy until the closing laps and be in the right position for when the pace suddenly increases.

Vergne penalised

On Lap 15, the stewards slapped Vergne with five-second time penalty for his collision with Cassidy, effectively ruling him out of contention for the win given the style of racing that was on show.

A lap later and Sam Bird became the next driver to sustain damage, forcing him to pit which dropped him comfortably to the pack of the field.

As the vast majority of the race was all about being in the right place in the closing laps, the overtakes was merely irrelevant. It was clear, the race would really start with five laps remaining.

With five laps remaining in the latest instalment of Formula E extreme peloton-racing, Rowland led ahead of da Costa and Vergne.

The Nissan driver worked his way to the front during the 23 peloton laps and tried to bolt; however, da Costa went with him.

Da Costa, racing for his Porsche career reportedly, overtook Rowland down the inside of Turn 5 with three laps remaining, as the top four suddenly built a gap to those behind.

Da Costa victorious

On the penultimate lap, Da Costa led from Rowland, Vergne and Dennis, although the Frenchman was out of the podium fight due to his penalty.

As they started the final lap, it was clear the fight for victory was between Da Costa and Rowland. The British driver tried putting the Porsche star under pressure but just could not get close enough.

Da Costa crossed the finish line to claim a famous victory to prove his doubters wrong, whilst Rowland finished second and picked up the point for fastest lap. Dennis completed the podium with Vergne's penalty having demoted him to eighth.

In a huge shock, ERT secured a double points finish, with Ticktum in fifth and Sette Camara in seventh. Championship leader ahead of the race Wehrlein, finished P17. Jehan Daruvala, Sam Bird, Cassidy and Mortara were the race's only retirees.

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