Dennis: Nobody thought I could hold Valencia FE lead

First-time Formula E winner Jake Dennis reckons he played “guinea pig” in the Valencia E-Prix “game of the poker” and “nobody thought it was possible” he would hold the lead.

A headwind on the main straight and few opportunities to regenerate energy at the permanent Ricardo Tormo track meant teams comfortably preferred their drivers to remain in a slipstream to save charge for the end of the race rather than attempt to lead from first place.

Championship rookie Dennis, who claimed his inaugural pole position after topping the group qualifying stages, explained that his team had planned for second-starting Mahindra Racing driver Alex Lynn to take the lead.

“The plan was always to let Alex pass but then it was quite evident he didn’t want to,” he said. We had to change it up.

"He basically just followed every move I did. It was just a game of poker really.

“We were just showing our cards a little bit and it was going to be a difficult race at the end with the energy.

“We did the perfect strategy, made it one lap shorter, made it a flat-out race at the end and this was the best strategy, it worked out."

As Lynn stayed behind, which led to slow race pace in the early stages, Dennis told Motorsport.com that he had been “the guinea pig”.

“Nobody wanted to lead. But someone's got to, and I was the guinea pig. I was the guy who led the whole field, and still managed it, which is sensational.

“It's just a massive relief that we've got our first win. It just shows the efficiency of the [BMW] powertrain.”

Saturday polesitter Antonio Felix da Costa told Motorsport.com he had received texts from four drivers telling him that they would not overtake him during the early part of the race.

Dennis said he had been told by his rivals in the paddock that the BMW car would not win.

He added: “Every driver is shocked that I lead from lap one to lap 30. Nobody thought it was possible.

“Obviously, you go up against these guys like Antonio, [Jean-Eric Vergne], [Oliver] Rowland. To beat these guys, is a real big confidence boost for me.”

Dennis earned the Formula E seat, somewhat against public expectation, following an internal shootout between BMW factory drivers Phillip Eng, Marco Wittmann and Lucas Auer.

Dennis told Motorsport.com that his victory validated the decision for the manufacturer to sign him for Formula E, the Brit particularly impressing with his simulator work.

He said: "It's really impressive that they put their trust in me and for me to now be able to deliver that first BMW win of the season, first pole position of the season.

“It just shows that they made the right decision. I'll be truly grateful for them putting me in the car.”

shares
comments
Valencia E-Prix: Rookie Dennis scores lights-to-flag win for BMW

Previous article

Valencia E-Prix: Rookie Dennis scores lights-to-flag win for BMW

Next article

Lynn: Nato shunt shows FE "can bite you in the arse"

Lynn: Nato shunt shows FE "can bite you in the arse"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Event Valencia E-Prix II
Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent Prime

Why Formula E's Valencia fiasco undermines engineering talent

FIA president Jean Todt wanted more Formula E coverage in the media, and got his wish when the opening Valencia E-Prix proved farcical. Despite attempts to spin the race as teams failing to get their sums right, Formula E and its governing body cannot escape blame - especially when trying to get teams to commit long-term.

Formula E
Apr 27, 2021
How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem Prime

How Valencia E-Prix farce gave Formula E an image problem

Formula E was under the microscope at Valencia, on its first visit to a permanent circuit. But after a mere nine drivers were left classified following Saturday's Valencia E-Prix, the electric championship once more faced criticism after rising energy deductions and miscalculations produced a farcical affair.

Formula E
Apr 25, 2021
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Prime

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Prime

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits.

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Prime

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons.

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Prime

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Prime

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet.

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Prime

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

Mercedes and Porsche compete to win and have done so across the board: in Formula 1, sportscars, the Dakar Rally and endurance road races - even working together to break land speed records. Next in the crosshairs is the Formula E teams' championship crown.

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021