Virgin Racing round off successful season opener with Sam Bird Championship leader

Virgin Racing rounded off a successful opening weekend in the new Formula E season with a double points finish during today’s (December 3) second race in Hong Kong, with team driver Sam Bird now leading the championship standings.

Following yesterday’s victory by Sam Bird, Virgin Racing picked up two more top 10 finishes at the Harbourfront circuit with Bird finishing fifth and team-mate Alex Lynn securing his second consecutive points finish with ninth.

Sunday’s race began unconventionally when a failure to the start lights meant the 45-lap race had to be started behind the safety car. The opening laps saw Lynn, beginning from fifth after his strong qualifying performance, hold his ground heading into the pit stop window, whilst team-mate Bird, starting P13, had already gained ground to be inside the points.

Lynn managed his energy well in the early stint and was able to run an extra lap longer as the majority of the field, including Bird, pitted at the halfway mark. Both drivers continued to push with Lynn chasing Mitch Evans for fourth spot and Bird, now in seventh, chasing Jean-Eric Vergne. With overtaking difficult though, neither driver was able to gain places with Lynn also running low on useable energy, forcing him to ease off in the closing stages and lose out on a couple of positions.

A post-race investigation later excluded race-winner Daniel Abt promoting both drivers one place and leaving Bird leading the drivers’ standings with
Lynn in ninth and Virgin Racing in second in the teams’ standings, just three points adrift from the top.

Summing up his weekend, Sam Bird said: “It’s been a very encouraging weekend for Virgin Racing and myself. It’s been a great couple of rounds for the team. Thank you to everyone for working so hard over the summer break and we’re looking forward to going into round three focused and ready to battle for more podiums.”

Alex Lynn said: “We’ve come away in a strong position and a lot of respect has to go to the team for their hard work behind the scenes. Sam and I performed well this weekend and congratulations to him for the win. We had a good recovery drive yesterday and today we qualified fifth so was disappointing not to finish there, but we move on and look to build on this for Marrakesh.”

Team Principal Alex Tai commented: “To be in this position after the opening rounds is fantastic. The results demonstrate the strength and ability of our drivers, the car and the whole of the Virgin Racing team, and we head into the New Year in a very strong position.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “It’s great to end the weekend with Sam leading the driver standings and it confirms the pace and the reliability of the DSV-03 Formula E car. Well done to the team for this amazing achievement. It is a good omen for the future, and we’re looking forward to racing in Marrakesh.”

Round 3 of the 2017/2018 FIA Formula E Championship takes place in Marrakesh on January 13 2018.

2017/2018 FIA Formula E Championship – Hong Kong E-Prix – Round 2:
1. Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing, 50:05.084s (29pts, FL, P)
2. Edoardo Mortara, Venturi Formula E Team, +7.031s (18pts)
3. Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, +10.619s (15pts)
4. Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH, +12.593s (12pts)
5. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +12.879s (10pts)
6. Oliver Turvey, NIO Formula E Team, +14.199s (8pts)
7. Maro Engel, Venturi Formula E Team, 15.676s (6pts)
8. Nico Prost, Renault e.dams, +18.905s (4pts)
9. Alex Lynn, Virgin Racing, +19.025s (2pts)
10. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, +22.139s (1pts)

Driver standings – after round 2:
1. Sam Bird, 35pts
2. Jean Eric-Vergne, 33pts
3. Felix Rosenqvist, 29pts
4. Eduaro Mortara, 24pts
5. Nick Heidfeld, 15pts
6. Mitch Evans, 15pts
7. Nelson Piquet Jr, 12pts
8. Daniel Abt, 11pts
9. Antonio Felix da Costa, 8pts
10. Oliver Turvey, 8pts
11. Alex Lynn, 6pts

Team standings – after round 2:
1. Mahindra Racing, 44pts
2. Virgin Racing, 41pts
3. Techeetah, 33pts
4. Venturi Formula E, 30pts
5. Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 27pts
6. Audi Sport Abt Scheffler, 11pts
7. NIO Formula E, 9pts
8. Andretti Formula E, 8pts
9. Renault e.dams, 7pts
10. Dragon, 0pts