Santiago ePrix: Vergne leads Techeetah one-two

4th Feb 2018 4:11 pm

Mahindra Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist gained up to 10 places to finish fourth.

Jean-Eric Vergne took his second Formula E victory at the Santiago ePrix, ahead of Techeetah team-mate Andre Lotterer, to give the team its first one-two.

Sebastien Buemi grabbed third for Renault e.dams, but once again defending champion Lucas di Grassi was out of luck - retiring with yet another technical issue in his Audi. Fourth place for Felix Rosenqvist and fifth for Sam Bird (plus the fastest lap bonus point) kept their championship challenge on track - but Vergne now leads the standings.

Vergne led away from pole position, but was under pressure into the first turn from Nelson Piquet Jr, who made a stunning getaway from fifth on the grid. The Jaguar driver remained hot on the Techeetah Renault's tail, before the race was cooled down under the safety car as Jose Maria Lopez and Maro Engel had their cars retrieved following separate opening-lap incidents.

Piquet was caught napping at the restart, and over the first part of the race Vergne stretched out his lead to out to over 3.6 seconds before the mandatory pitstop. But by now it was Lotterer in second place, the German having pulled a slick move on 2014/15 champion Piquet into Turn 3, the right-hander that would be the main action point on the Santiago track.

This was the first race where there was no minimum pitstop time and Rosenqvist was the big winner - leaping up from 10th place to fifth during the stops. The big loser was di Grassi, whose car ground to a halt as he exited the pits, extending the miserable start to his title defence.

Bird stayed out a lap longer has rivals, but this didn't work to his benefit as he slipped from fourth back to sixth.

With Vergne losing radio contact with his pit, he was forced to be cautious with his energy use, and this meant that Lotterer closed right in. On at least three occasions the team-mates touched, including one heart-stopping moment when Lotterer hooked his nose over Vergne's rear wing and literally pushed him into Turn 3.

Buemi and Piquet staged a great duel for third, with Piquet overcooking his braking into Turn 3 as he tried to reclaim the position. As the Techeetah drivers held each other up, Buemi, Rosenqvist and Bird homed right in for a nail-biting conclusion, but Vergne and Lotterer held on ahead.

Piquet and Mitch Evans ensured it was a decent day for Jaguar in sixth and seventh - Evans having driven a stunning race to come through from last despite a 10 seconds penalty.

Jerome D'Ambrosio was another big winner in the pits and scored his first points of the season for Dragon in eighth. Antonio Felix da Costa was ninth for Andretti, while Nico Prost rounded out the points for Renault e.dams.

Result

POS

DRIVER

TEAM

CAR

LAPS

GAP

1

Jean-Eric Vergne

Techeetah

Renault

37

1h01m24.514s

2

Andre Lotterer

Techeetah

Renault

37

1.154s

3

Sebastien Buemi

e.dams

Renault

37

1.959s

4

Felix Rosenqvist

Mahindra

Mahindra

37

2.793s

5

Sam Bird

Virgin

DS Virgin

37

4.490s

6

Nelson Piquet Jr.

Jaguar

Jaguar

37

6.364s

7

Mitch Evans

Jaguar

Jaguar

37

7.099s

8

Jerome d'Ambrosio

Dragon

Penske

37

13.308s

9

Antonio Felix da Costa

Andretti

Andretti

37

14.811s

10

Nicolas Prost

e.dams

Renault

37

21.092s

11

Tom Blomqvist

Andretti

Andretti

37

32.924s

12

Luca Filippi

NIO

NextEV NIO

37

44.127s

13

Edoardo Mortara

Venturi

Venturi

37

49.398s

14

Oliver Turvey

NIO

NextEV NIO

37

1m12.282s

-

Alex Lynn

Virgin

DS Virgin

26

Retirement

-

Nick Heidfeld

Mahindra

Mahindra

23

Retirement

-

Lucas di Grassi

Audi

Audi

21

Retirement

-

Daniel Abt

Audi

Audi

11

Retirement

-

Maro Engel

Venturi

Venturi

0

Retirement

-

Jose Maria Lopez

Dragon

Penske

0

Retirement

 

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