RIYADH: Formula E returns to Riyadh later today for the second leg of the Diriyah-E-Prix double-header in the opening round of season 7, following an electric opening race last night which saw a maiden victory for Mercedes-EQ driver Nyck de Vries.
Completing the podium, Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, was Edoardo Mortara of ROCKiT Venturi Racing, who finished second, and Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans in third.
“What an incredible race. Once again Diriyah has made sporting history with another ‘first’ and I’m so pleased Saudi Arabia has proudly opened this wonderful series to start Season 7,” said Prince Khalid.
“It’s a championship that aligns so perfectly with our future vision and commitment to sustainability as a nation. You can tell the drivers love the track and I’ve no doubt millions around the world have been thoroughly entertained.”
Speaking of his podium finish, Mortara revealed the risk in overtaking Pascal Wehrlein of TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.
“When I am in the car doing these moves my heart stops,” the Swiss driver said.
“Wehrlein moved at the last minute so I had to go on the left as I was quite surprised. It was the key moment of the race and I was really happy to survive the chaos and finish second. It's exciting.”
He also spoke of his third experience of the Diriyah track at the world UNESCO heritage site.
“You can see that the organizers have put in a lot of time to get the track ready and it’s a pleasure coming to race in an historical place like Diriyah,” Mortara added.
“The effort they’ve put in to host the first ever night race is amazing.”
Once again, 24 drivers from 12 teams will take to the track this evening, and while race two, like the first one, will also be held without spectators, fans still can still catch the action live on KSA Sports TV or the channel’s Twitter page @riyadiyatv.
“Due to COVID we have all faced many challenges over the last year.,” Prince Khalid added.
“There have been dark moments and many felt staging the race would be impossible. But tonight, the light has shone bright and it is clear, the Kingdom is not slowing down. It is a sign of hope and a positive step forward that shows what can be achieved if we work together to overcome all obstacles.”
The Diriyah E-Prix signifies a significant milestone in the history of Formula E while building on Saudi Arabia’s continued momentum in hosting motorsport competitions.
Despite the challenges of COVID, 2021is set to see the country host four FIA sanctioned events.
Following the season opener for Formula E this weekend, April will see the first ever Extreme E race take to the breathtaking Al Ula, before the country plays host to its inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in early December.
Then finally closing out the year with the return of Formula E Season 8.