The ‘Eternal City’ is back in Formula E and a virtual rendition of the original Rome E-Prix circuit played host to the Grand Final of Accelerate’s inaugural season. With a second All Star race to spice up the Teams’ championship and double points on offer for the final E-Prix itself, nothing was certain until the final chequered flag.
In what was a significantly more explosive outing for the real-life drivers in comparison to two weeks ago, it would be ROKiT Venturi pumping fists with one hand seemingly on the trophy as Edoardo Mortara stormed to victory. Envision Virgin Racing and TAG Heuer Porsche found podium points through the efforts of Robin Frijns and Pascal Wehrlein respectively.
BMW i Andretti did not fare as well which just about summed up their time in Electric Docks. With Kevin ‘Siggy’ Rebernak now requiring an act of racing mercy to overhaul the difference between himself and championship leader Erhan Jajovski, many instead chose to focus on in-form Frederick Rasmussen who had found a win or podium in every race following the first round of 2021.
A very similar story to the past few weeks of action emerged once again as Group 1 progressed with Rasmussen claiming provisional pole, Jajovski unable to match the Dane and Siggy in an unenviable position behind both his rivals. Much like in Diriyah however, the gap between the front two was large enough for others to potentially nip into.
This is exactly what Graham Carroll did, slotting in ahead of the Venturi driver and onto the front row. The Scot’s Accelerate story had been one of frustration and missed opportunities; here he could somewhat redeem himself.
Jajovski would still start third with Siggy delighted to not lose out too much in the end with P5. Jarno Opmeer impressed with P4 while Nikodem Wisniewski and, crucially for the Teams’ championship, Lorenz Hörzing backed up their form from last week to sit pretty inside the top ten. Petar Brljak faltered and could only put up a time good enough for P14.
Mercedes EQ driver Bono Huis would also pick up a penalty condemning him to a back-of-the-grid start.
The first lap was all about Siggy and his willingness to do whatever it took to get up the order. The tight and twisting streets of Italy’s capital bore witness to multiple contacts between himself and Opmeer ahead before Hörzing attempted to capitalise only to be introduced to the wall himself. The gloves were well and truly off and with evidence of damage, the Austrian began sinking down the order
As the dust settled, Rasmussen remained in first whilst Jajovski also held firm in third. This was truly a knife-edge scenario when even a small bonus such as fastest lap points could swing the title one way or another. If things finished like this with the fastest lap going elsewhere, the Macedonian would win on victory countback. Those extra two points would therefore be all the more important as the rest of the E-Prix elapsed with early possession going to outsider Siggy, who utilised Attack Mode first from the top five.
It wasn’t just the Slovenian who was playing catch up but his team, BMW i Andretti, and with every point doubled it didn’t take much thought to understand such a punchy display. In the dying moments of his first battery boost, Siggy re-engaged Opmeer ahead and bested the Dutchman to move up into P4. The favour was returned, however, at the end of the Silver Arrow’s first Attack Mode.
Yet, in an event full of close battles, it was a rather obscure and isolated incident that ultimately decided the fate of the Drivers’ championship. In clean air, Jajovski hit the wall hard at Turn 9 with damage seeing him sink right back into the clutches of Opmeer and Siggy behind. In his second Attack Mode, the Mercedes EQ driver made the move banking on Jajovski’s condition getting worse.
Siggy also made his way through with the higher engine mode but with a rather more rambunctious move around the outside of Turns 5 and 6. The man who had led the championship from the first day went to activate his own second Attack Mode but, as it unfolded, this would be more in defence of his current position with Siggy able to run away.
And with that, the final piece was in place for Red Bull Racing Esports’ Frederick Rasmussen driving for Dragon/Penske Autosport to win the Formula E: Accelerate Drivers’ championship, taking victory and the fastest lap when it mattered most in Rome. Carroll and Opmeer rounded out the rest of the podium.
Many had wondered about the full impact of double points, especially with Jajovski’s lead being sizable heading into the Grand Final. No matter your opinion on it, there is no denying it set up the thrilling scenario viewers were enthralled by from start to finish.
After being thrown into the deep end on rFactor 2, the daring Dane found form even more ruthless than Jajovski’s in the first half of the season.
Frederick Rasmussen, Red Bull Racing Esports – “I still can’t believe it. It feels really amazing! I didn’t expect it at all as I was so far behind Erhan [going into the final round].
“I was really happy with how qualifying went, I was pleased that I also got the fastest lap and a race win in the double points race. It feels good, especially after being P9 in the championship after the first race. [rFactor 2 is] a completely new game for me so I’ve been learning new things every day. It’s been really satisfying to make it all happen.”
Aside from taking home a cool €20,000, Rasmussen will join Accelerate rival Siggy in Valencia to drive a real-life Gen2 Formula E car. He also had the bragging rights of knowing that his results alone took his team above BMW i Andretti in the Teams’ standings as well, with Siggy receiving a post-race time penalty for his overenthusiastic manoeuvres throughout the race.
Jajovski is safe in the knowledge that he, along with his teammate’s excellent second half of the season and Mortara’s earlier All Star result, secured ROKiT Venturi Racing the Team’s title. Nevertheless, the Macedonian realised that this was his championship to lose.
Erhan Jajovski, R8G Esports – “I am disappointed but I knew Frederik had the Pole Position and winning from where I was with these track conditions was extremely difficult. I tried to get the fastest lap and that was the only way to re-open the competition. I missed my braking point and crashed and from that point my car was broken.”
FORMULA E: ACCELERATE ROUND SIX RESULTS
- F. Rasmussen – Dragon/Penske Autosport – 15 Laps
- G. Carroll – Envision Virgin Racing – +2.835
- J. Opmeer – Mercedes EQ Formula E Team – +8.776
- K. Siggy* – BMW i Andretti Motorsport – +11.877
- E. Jajovski – ROKiT Venturi Racing – +13.214
- K. Brzezinski – Jaguar Racing – +14.892
- N. Wisniewski – DS Techeetah – +17.635
- L. Hörzing – ROKiT Venturi Racing – +19.357
*+10-second time penalty applied post-race
FORMULA E: ACCELERATE final CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
F. Rasmussen – Dragon/Penske Autosport – 143
E. Jajovski – ROKiT Venturi Racing – 135
K. Siggy – BMW i Andretti Motorsport – 75
G. Carroll – Envision Virgin Racing – 58
J. Opmeer – Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team – 49
N. Wisniewski – DS Techeetah – 39
M. Golombeck – TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team – 37
M. Stefanko – Jaguar Racing – 32
M. Biancolilla – Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler – 28
L. Hörzing – ROKiT Venturi Racing – 28