Vergne edges di Grassi in Uruguay

March 19, 2018

Vergne edges di Grassi in Uruguay

March 19, 2018

Jean-Eric Vergne secured his second win of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship season in Saturday’s Punta del Este E-Prix, and extended his championship lead in the process.

The Frenchman enjoyed a thrilling wheel-to-wheel scrap in his Techeetah with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi, and came out on top at the Uruguayan street circuit.

Vergne led all but one of the 37 laps from pole position, only losing the lead during the pit stop cycle, but couldn’t shake di Grassi from his rear wing or sidepod all race.

Although di Grassi tried to get past, he was unable to do so, and Vergne delivered an emphatic victory that continues to boost his title hopes in season four.

“Obviously winning the race today in those conditions is to me one of the best drives,” Vergne said. “Racing against Lucas, who is the current title holder, was really tough. I don’t think I’ve won that many races but it was one of the ones I’m most happy with in terms of my driving.”

Di Grassi, the defending champion, was disappointed to have lost the win but at least stood on the podium for the first time this season.

“It was a really tough race for me, and to be honest JEV didn’t make many mistakes, I tried very hard – and I had the fastest car today,” he said.

“JEV defended very well so there was very little margin for me to attack, I think he did a small mistake coming into the last sector – we ended up touching a little bit and got super close. I tried my best, the car was super competitive – that won’t be the last time the team will fight for victories.”

Hong Kong first race winner Sam Bird completed the podium in third. It’s the DS Virgin Racing driver’s third podium this season, and first since Marrakesh.

Panasonic Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist completed the top five runners.

After the three-race Latin and South American swing, it’s back to Europe for the next four rounds of the season as the series begins its second half. Round 7 takes place in Rome on April 14.

Vergne holds a 30-point lead (109-79) in the championship courtesy of two wins and six top-five finishes in as many races this season. Rosenqvist on 79 points and Bird on 76 are next up, with Sebastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jr. – who each failed to score in Uruguay – fourth and fifth on 52 and 45 points.

Techeetah leads Mahindra by 27 points in the team’s standings, 127-100, with DS Virgin, Jaguar and Renault e.dams in the top five.

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