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Formula E - Bird unbeatable in Brooklyn


DS Virgin Racing driver scores his second New York City ePrix win of the weekend

FIA, Formula E, New York City ePrix, 2017

The second race of the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship New York City weekend was today (16 July) won by DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, who proved once again to be unbeatable on the streets of Brooklyn after having also won yesterday’s ePrix.

Joining Bird on the podium were the Mahindra Racing pairing of Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld, who were pleased to be back at the sharp end having not scored points in Saturday’s encounter.

With the second race starting earlier than normal at 13:00 EST, it meant a morning packed with track action for the 20 drivers in the world’s first fully electric motor sport championship. It was Bird who set the qualifying marker with an impressive time of 1:02.285 to put it on pole position, however he lost out to second-placed Rosenqvist off the start line when the lights went out.

After 11 laps of following the Swedish driver, Bird made a near-identical pass to his lead-taking manoeuvre from the first race with another spectacular dive down the inside at Turn 6. From that point on he maintained his advantage despite a number of Full Course Yellow periods to recover stricken cars.

It was a valiant effort from Sebastien Buemi’s temporary replacement Pierre Gasly in only his second day of racing in Formula E, as he secured fourth place in qualifying and held station for the entire race. The Frenchman also provided some last-gasp dramas, as having saved more energy than the two Mahindra cars in the second phase of the race he was rapidly closing the gap.

On the final corner of the final lap the Renault e.dams car had caught up with Heidfeld in third, but in an ambitious bid to get on the podium around the outside of the left-hander, Gasly made slight contact and ended up colliding with the barriers, although both cars made it across the line.

Lucas di Grassi finished fifth for Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport with another measured driver from down the order, so the battle for the 2016/17 title will go down to the wire in Montreal in two weeks’ time with the points deficit to Buemi reduced to ten.

Nico Prost made up an impressive nine places from his starting slot to finish in sixth for Renault e.dams, while Tom Dillmann scored his best result of the season in seventh.

Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne recovered to eighth despite damage from earlier in the race forcing him to make an unplanned pit stop. Robin Frijns and Jerome D’Ambrosio rounded out the top ten for Andretti Formula E and Faraday Future Dragon Racing respectively ensuring that the series’ two American teams scored points on home soil.

Today’s action-filled 49-lap encounter was longer than the first race of the weekend and demonstrated Formula E’s constant drive to push the boundaries of what is possible with the cutting edge technologies in the cars. In what was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the season, 20,000 spectators visited the event to experience motor sport in the heart of New York City and see how sustainable mobility technologies are being developed. 

Sam Bird said: “What a weekend not only for myself but for the team! What a car I was given this weekend – it was flying in qualifying, sensational energy management in the race – so hats off to DS Virgin Racing for giving me the best car they have ever given me. It feels incredible to win here – this was an historic weekend, not only for Formula E, but for motorsport in general. There’s never been a race in New York before and this has been a long time coming and to be the first person to win the first and second races here is really special.”

Felix Rosenqvist said: “I wasn’t expecting DS Virgin Racing to be as strong as they were, Sam also drove fantastically he looked pretty on it. During the second stint we started to get a few problems with my energy calculations, so we decided to let Nick past and to try to solve these issue in a slightly calmer environment. When we got our heads around it, I was able to concentrate and focus again and Nick was kind enough to let me back through for P2.”

With the final two races of Season 3 taking place on the streets of Montreal 29-30 July, it will be no holds barred as the field vies for position in both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championship battles.

2017 FIA Formula E Championship Round 10 - New York City ePrix - Race results

  1. Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing, 58:09.388s (28)
  2. Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing, +11.381s (18)
  3. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, +12.319s (15)
  4. Pierre Gasly, Renault e.dams, +12.355s (12)
  5. Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, +23.451s (10)
  6. Nico Prost, Renault e.dams, +30.470s (8)
  7. Tom Dillmann, Venturi Formula E, +41.862s (6)
  8. Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH, +52.292s (4)
  9. Robin Frijns, Andretti Formula E, +1:00.475s (2)
  10. Jerome D'Ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing, +1:12.659s (1)
  11. Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, +1:41.134s
  12. Stephane Sarrazin, TECHEETAH, +1 lap
  13. Loic Duval, Faraday Future Dragon Racing, +1 lap
  14. Oliver Turvey, NextEV NIO, +1 lap
  15. Antonio Felix da Costa, Andretti Formula E, +1 lap
  16. Nelson Piquet Jr, NextEV NIO, +3 laps
  17. Maro Engel, Venturi Formula E, DNF
  18. Alex Lynn, DS Virgin Racing, DNF
  19. Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, DNF (1)
  20. Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, DNF

Driver standings

Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams – 157
Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport – 147
Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing – 104
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing – 100
Nico Prost, Renault e.dams – 84
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing – 78

Team standings

Renault e.dams – 259
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport – 194
Mahindra Racing – 182
DS Virgin Racing – 153
NextEV NIO – 59
Andretti Formula E – 30
Faraday Future Dragon Racing – 30
Venturi Formula E – 28
Panasonic Jaguar Racing - 21