The Andretti rider made the move that would win the race on lap 12, with the Brit taking advantage of a gap from di Grassi.
From then on, Dennis extended his lead and, after three safety car periods, was able to take the lead in the race and finally cross the finish line with a huge seven-second lead over Wehrlein.
Wehrlein, last year’s winner in Mexico, moved to within 11 seconds of third-placed di Grassi after climbing up from sixth on the grid. Both drive Porsche-powered cars, with the German manufacturer finishing in the top ten with four of its powertrains.
Despite starting from pole, Di Grassi found himself on the defensive in the final third of the race and it took all of the Brazilian’s cunning to divert the attention of NEOM McLaren Formula E Team’s Jake Hughes in the closing stages.
Eventually, the rookie would be busy with Lotterer showing up in his mirrors, easing the pressure on di Grassi. Lotterer, who switched to the Porsche-powered Andretti team for the off-season, passed Hughes’ McLaren on the inside of the hairpin on the final lap.
Fifth place was no disappointment for Hughes in his debut; The rookie has been more than impressive since taking the McLaren seat during testing at Valencia. He led home a reinvigorated Sebastien Buemi – the Swiss had switched from Nissan to Envision Racing in the winter.
Season 6 champion António Félix da Costa added to Porsche’s tally with seventh place for the day, fighting his way up through the points late in the race with a late ATTACK MODE. Mitch Evans quietly took points to finish eighth for Jaguar TCS Racing, Nick Cassidy made two Envision Racing cars in the points with ninth place while reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne managed his DS PENSKE from 14th on the grid to just a single point.
Dennis sealed the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap.
Rounds 2 and 3 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will take place on Friday 27th January and Saturday 28th January in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
Jake Dennis, #27, Avalanche Andretti Formula E said:
“The fans here were sensational. On that last lap I could really hear them cheering. To start from the front row and then win so much, with a Porsche one-two, a big thank you to my team.
“It was such a physical race. These cars are so physically difficult to drive and with less grip it becomes even more difficult. But it’s even more rewarding, especially when you win by five seconds. Time for a tequila with the team, amazing race.
“My team and I have such a good relationship with each other. We just work so well. It didn’t look like it in qualifying, we turned it around, made a few small adjustments for the race and absolutely nailed it. Kudos to my boys, this is a small payback to them and I’m hoping for more success as Saudi isn’t that far away.”
Pascal Wehrlein, No. 94, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team said:
“Great start to the season, this place was fantastic. If you start on P6 and end up on P2 – that’s really very good. I’m very grateful to the car and my team-mates for that. I think we’ve been working really hard over the last few months – especially the last few weeks after Valencia – I just want to thank everyone in the team for their hard work. We have a clear goal this season and that’s the best way to start.
“The pace in the race seemed to be really good, all the Porsches were already super strong in qualifying. We hope that it is not an isolated case and continue to work hard on it. Last year Mexico was also our best race so we have to keep working hard to really understand the car and make progress. We want to fight for the championship and that’s a good start.
Lucas di Grassi, No. 11, Mahindra Racing said:
“It was a very, very tough race, of course we know in this race that the Porsches are really fast. Remember last year they won P1, P2 and gone. It was impossible to hold Jake and Pascal, I was running out of energy but I tried to defend as best I could. In the end, for us with only three or four days in this car, a podium is like a win, there is so much potential to go further, so I’m very happy.”