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Formula E – Newly-crowned champion Vergne wins season finale in New York City


Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler just edge out TECHEETAH in the teams’ championship

Jean-Eric Vergne has won the twelfth and final round of the 2017/18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship in New York City, while Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler wrapped up the teams’ championship with second and third place for Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt respectively.

Vergne and di Grassi were nose-to-tail for the majority of the second phase of the race, with di Grassi eventually weighing-up the risk and settling for second. The podium finish was di Grassi’s record-breaking seventh in as many races, and coupled with Abt’s hard-fought third sealed the teams’ title for Audi who become the only other team to win than Renault e.dams, which contested its final weekend in New York.

After thunderstorms and overcast conditions throughout the morning’s running, Vergne made a lightning start from third place on a drying track – moving into the lead by the first corner and jumping both pole-sitter Sebastien Buemi and TECHEETAH team-mate Andre Lotterer.

The Frenchman first looked to the outside of Buemi and then the inside with a late-braking move to take the lead and keeping TECHEETAH on the front foot and in control of its own destiny in the teams’ title.

Lotterer, however, jumped the start and was handed a 10-place stop and go penalty - dropping him down the order and jeopardising the chances of winning both championships.

Fortunately, Vergne didn’t suffer the same fate and kept his rivals at bay. Both he and di Grassi pitted on lap 23 and couldn’t be separated after exiting their garages, marking the last time for a mandatory mid-race car swap - something teams, drivers and fans have grown accustomed to in the first years of Formula E.

The battle between the leading teams wasn’t over as Buemi threatened to spoil Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s party. The Renault e.dams driver was looking to repeat his performance from yesterday, but Abt managed to conserve his energy after pitting a lap earlier and securing the final podium spot and fastest lap.

Lotterer made progress through the field to finish ninth, but it wasn’t enough as TECHEETAH narrowly missed out by only two points at the chequered flag - the smallest-ever winning margin in the teams’ championship.

Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist took fifth ahead of Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr. for Panasonic Jaguar Racing. Nick Heidfeld brought an end to his campaign with a fourth points-scoring finish in a row in eighth ahead of Lotterer and Sam Bird in 10th.

Now the dust has settled on another intense and unpredictable season of electric street racing - Formula E now embarks on a summer break before entering a new era in Ad Diriyah, Saudia Arabia on December 15.

With four different champions – as well as new names, new faces and new cars for next season – the countdown is already on for season five of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the competitive debut of the futuristic new-look FIA Formula E Gen2 car.

Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH, said: “Firstly I want to congratulate Audi for winning the teams' championship. I want to congratulate my team for the job they’ve done this year because honestly, it’s really amazing. This weekend started out with a mistake in qualifying that got me disqualified. I came back through the field - attacking very hard and overtaking many cars. Today qualifying went pretty well in the wet. Then I had a strong, aggressive, start and then I was able to manage the race, which was very tough as we all know Audi is really, really quick in the race. No mistakes were allowed on my side and I think I’ve achieved that.”

Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, said: I think Vergne deserved the championship this year. He made no mistakes, he was very consistent, so congratulations to him and TECHEETAH. It shows that in Formula E, you need to do the job all around to make it happen. On my side, that's exactly what we did. We were nowhere in the first races, we made mistakes but the car was already fast. It's nothing short of a miracle to get to second in the drivers’ standings - I'm very, very happy - but I'm more happy that Audi has won the teams' championship. Those guys back in the garage, everyone works really hard. Every time we say the same but I'm very proud that Audi committed to Formula E, suffering a lot, keeping their head high, recovering and in the last race winning by two points is just unbelievable.”

Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, said: What an incredible finish to the season with four podiums this weekend. We’re the teams' champions and we managed to achieve what we hadn’t before - everyone can be super proud of the job they’ve been doing all season long. I’m just thankful and very, very happy. Now it’s time to get a break and we’ll bounce back in season five - what a big task ahead!”

2018 New York City E-Prix (Rd 12)

1 - Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH, 1:01:38.089s (25)
2 - Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, +0.508s (18)
3 - Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, +1.287s (16)
4 - Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, +1.780s (15)
5 - Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing, +12.146s (10)
6 - Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, +20.050s (8)
7 - Nelson Piquet Jr, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, +20.592s (6)
8 - Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, +24.275s (4)
9 - Andre Lotterer, TECHEETAH, +28.821s (2)
10 - Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing, +32.810s (1)
11 - Nico Prost, Renault e.dams, +34.100s
12 - Stephane Sarrazin, Andretti Formula E, +34.594s
13 - Ma Qing Hua, NIO Formula E Team, +1 Lap
14 - Alex Lynn, DS Virgin Racing, +1 Lap
15 - Antonio Felix da Costa, Andretti Formula E, +3 Laps

DNF - Maro Engel, Venturi Formula E Team, 15 Laps
DNF - Luca Filippi, NIO Formula E Team, 7 Laps
DNF - Jerome D’Ambrosio, DRAGON, 6 Laps
DNF - Jose Maria Lopez, DRAGON, 5 Laps
DNF - Tom Dillmann, Venturi Formula E Team, 4 Laps

Driver standings

Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH - 198
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler - 144
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing - 143
Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams - 125
Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler - 120

Team standings

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler - 264
DS Virgin Racing - 160
Mahindra Racing - 138
Renault e.dams - 133
Panasonic Jaguar Racing - 119
Venturi Formula E Team - 72
NIO Formula E Team - 47
Andretti Formula E - 24