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An interview with Jake Dennis: “Probably my best day in motorsport so far”.

It was a day to remember for Jake Dennis (GBR). The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver dominated the Sunday at the DHL Valencia E-Prix (ESP) of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. He secured pole position, led the race from start to finish and celebrated his first victory in only his sixth race in this championship. In an interview, the 25-year old speaks about this success.

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Munich. It was a day to remember for Jake Dennis (GBR). The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver dominated the Sunday at the DHL Valencia E-Prix (ESP) of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. He secured pole position, led the race from start to finish and celebrated his first victory in only his sixth race in this championship. In an interview, the 25-year old speaks about this success, his learning curve in Formula E, the collaboration with team-mate Maximilian Günther (GER) and looks ahead on the remaining season.


What does this win mean to you after the tough start of the season?

Jake Dennis: “Getting your first win in Formula E is always something special, it’s obviously your first goal and dream. And being able to do it so early in the season on race six is a cool feeling. Credit to the team for doing such a good job with the strategy to allow me to deliver the results in qualifying and also later in the race.” 


What were the keys to success?

Dennis: “I think having the patience is the key to success. In Formula E it’s very much like a poker game and to trying to understand where to show your car at and where not, I think we managed that perfectly in the race. We pushed where we had to and then we’ve saved energy where we could do and it worked out. That’s why we came from A to B the fastest and that’s why we won the race.”


Where do you rank this win in your career? 

Dennis: “It is definitely one of my best, for sure. I think it was more of a challenge to get this race win. In Formula E, it is so difficult to put everything together, but to get pole position and the race win, I’d probably say it has to be my best day in motorsport in terms of the whole package. But yeah, this race win is definitely one of my favorites so far.”


And there was also another reason why that was a special win…

Dennis: “Yes, there is a mechanic in the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team, Chris, who was already my mechanic ten years ago when I was crowned champion in my first single-seater season in the InterSteps Championship. When our paths crossed again when I came to BMW, I sent him a picture of us celebrating together ten years ago in 2011 – of course he had this picture, too – but I sent it to him and wrote: ‘Let’s try and replicate this this year’. And it’s amazing that we’ve managed the same result ten years later, both in completely different scenarios than in 2011. Back then, we were completely unexperienced, him as a mechanic and me as driver. Now we are both at the top of our game, we’re experienced in motorsport now and it was cool to share this memory and this moment with Chris and replicate what we did ten years later. So it only made sense that we had a photo together – a similar one to that from 2011.”


Were you more nervous in qualifying or at the race start? 

Dennis: “I was probably more nervous in qualifying to be honest. It was a big opportunity for me with the drying track conditions and it only takes one small mistake to lose that opportunity. And then going to the start of the race, the pressure was rather low, I didn’t really feel that nervous surprisingly.”


How big was the advantage of knowing the Valencia track? 

Dennis: “I don’t think it was any advantage knowing this track already, I just think it wasn’t a disadvantage. Obviously, everybody knows the circuit and obviously so did I, so it more was the one time in Formula E this season, where I wasn’t at a disadvantage because obviously 90 percent of the field aren’t rookies so they know most of the tracks already. It definitely helps the situation to start the weekend on the right foot and it wasn’t required for me to learn the circuit in FP1 and FP2.”


How does the collaboration with Maximilian Günther work? 

Dennis: “Maximilian and I have a great relationship, he was super happy for me to get the win and vice versa, when his day will come for sure. We work really well together, Maximilian is super professional and detailed on everything. So yes, we have a good working combination and it definitely drives the team forward in a positive manner. We try to get the best out of our package the whole time.”


How much did you learn in your first six Formula E races? 

Dennis: “I’ve learned a hell of a lot in my first six races in Formula E, definitely! We’ve had the full roller coaster experience, we started from the back and came forward, we started from the middle and now literally we started from the front leading every lap and then getting the win. So we’ve had every scenario now and it’s much easier starting from the front, that’s what I have learned, so qualifying is super important. But the whole six races have been a massive learning curve from me and still I have so much to learn in comparison to the other drivers.”


What is the biggest challenge in Formula E for you so far? 

Dennis: “The biggest challenge in Formula E has to be putting the whole weekend together perfectly. It’s so easy to make one small mistake in practice or qualifying or the race and then your day is ruined, so just trying to put everything together and having a smooth weekend and that’s definitely the most challenging part in Formula E.”


After you win you said “we’re back in it” – so what are your goals for the races to come? 

Dennis: “I think we are all back in the hunt, we’re only 22 points behind the lead after six races so we’re definitely there. Back in group two in qualifying now, eighth in the championship, we’ve made a big step forward in the team championship, so yeah, it’s all eyes on for Monaco in a couple of weeks where we will try to get again another big points before we will have a big break afterwards. It’s again a new circuit for me but I’m sure it will be a cool event and I’m very much looking forward driving in Monaco for the first time.” 


Knowing the whole race calendar now, what venues are you looking forward to most? 

Dennis: “The two race events I’m looking forward to the most are definitely New York and London. I’m really much looking forward to having my home races as I don’t live too far from London, so it will be for sure something special for me racing there, hopefully with some fans at this point, that would be awesome. And then New York, I always wanted to go to New York in the last ten years but I somehow never made it there and to have the opportunity going there now as a Formula E racing driver racing on the streets of New York is something pretty special to me. I really hope that we get a good result in New York, I think it’s a special race and yeah, just hoping for good weather.”


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