Formula E: Champion Nyck De Vries is undeterred by expectations

Riyadh: Dutch rider Nyck De Vries insists the pressure of being the defending champion doesn’t let him down and looks forward to his favorite race of the calendar in Saudi Arabia when the new season kicks off later this month.

The 26-year-old will compete for Mercedes in the eighth edition of the championship, which begins on January 28-29 with the Diriyah E-Prix in Riyadh. The upcoming season features 16 rounds in 10 countries including the UK, Germany, the United States and Italy.

De Vries will be among the 22 drivers in action for the season opener and while he hopes to impress, he is aware of the stiff competition he faces to repeat his title win.

He said: “There’s always pressure and I’m always nervous and a little bit stressed on race days and sometimes have this other feeling because I care and I want to do well. Being the reigning champion doesn’t really change things like it did last year. Now we all start the same and have to prove ourselves again. So I’m looking forward to the new season and to doing better than in the past.”

De Vries has happy memories of racing in Saudi Arabia. He won the race in last year’s championship, laying the foundation to secure his first global ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and he admits racing under the lights will make the race even more special.

He said: “Diriyah was good to me last year and it’s my favorite event on the calendar because I like the layout. It’s the fastest track on the calendar and doesn’t have any slow corners. It’s a great track and being a night race gives it an extra touch and the organizers made great use of the lighting to make it a cool race.

“There is not much difference to racing during the day, but at night the emotions are all a bit bigger. Everything looks a bit faster and more intimidating and I think there’s a lot more emotion so personally I like the idea of ​​a night race.”

The driver also detailed his ambition to continue racing in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and the importance of competing regularly to become the best driver that he can be.

“I think it’s important to stay active and keep honing your racing skills in different disciplines. When you race there’s always a different testing pressure – so I’m someone who would rather race than test as I believe testing is effective at certain stages of your career and will give you experience.

“However, it doesn’t put you in a situation where you get these unique, different racing feelings. So I want to race as much as possible and hope to continue racing in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and endurance racing.”

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