Sam Bird secured an outstanding second win from pole position during today’s Formula E New York ePrix to round off an incredible weekend for the Virgin Racing team, amassing the team’s largest ever points haul and keeping the Brit in title contention heading into the final two races.
In front of another sell-out Brooklyn crowd, the team began the day by making it a double pole position, this time through Bird after team-mate Alex Lynn’s stunning P1 debut yesterday.
As the race got underway, Bird lost out to Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist into the first corner, holding onto P2 while Lynn was pushed down the order from his P7 grid slot. Lap nine then saw a brief stoppage via a full course yellow, bunching up the pack and gifting Bird a great opportunity to get on the back of the leader. Full of confidence, he did just that, making an identical move at the same hairpin as he did yesterday to take the lead.
Meanwhile, Lynn’s race was sadly cut short when he was forced to retire due to an electrical issue, once again bringing out full course yellows and presenting a tricky pitstop period as Mahindra – running either side of Bird – looked to get the undercut. The Virgin Racing team were quick to react though and a neat pitstop a lap later saw him return out in front as racing resumed.
From then on it was a case of managing the gap and energy – in the extended 49-lap race – which he did faultlessly to cross the line with a sizeable 11-second margin and pick up a combined 56 points for the team for the double-header weekend.
“I’m still in shock!” said Bird who now has five wins to his name. “What a weekend it’s been and what a car the Virgin Racing guys have given me. Being a longer race today I thought it would be hard on energy but we managed it so well. The pitstop was a key point but we timed it well to just get out in front. I’m just delighted for everyone in the team, especially by engineers and mechanics, who have worked so hard for this.”
Lynn said: “I’d like to thank the Virgin Racing team for giving me the opportunity to race this weekend. I’m very proud of what I achieved, especially with the pole position, and very happy for the team with the results they got.”
Team Principal Alex Tai said: “It’s been an absolutely fantastic weekend for the team and all our partners. To be the first team to win in New York is incredible but to do it again is unthinkable! Sam and Alex both did an incredible job, as did all the mechanics and engineers, and showed the true potential of the car. Now it’s on to Canada and to end the season on a high.”
Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance Director, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Virgin Racing team and confirms the improvements we’ve made over the last few months. This weekend we showed our car is fast in qualifying and also very efficient in terms of energy consumption. This is the result of a R&D during testing and on the simulator. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the DS Performance team and to the PSA Motorsport Division for their hardwork.”
The final two rounds (11 and 12) of the 2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship take place in Montreal, Canada on July 29 and 30.
2017 FIA Formula E New York ePrix (Rd 10) – Race Results
1. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, 49 laps
2. Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra, +11.381s
3. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra, +12.319s
4. Pierre Gasly, Renault e.dams, +12.355s
5. Lucas di Grassi, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, +23.451s
6. Nicolas Prost, Renault e.dams, +30.470s
7. Tom Dillmann, Venturi, +41.862s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH, +52.292s
9. Robin Frijns. Andretti Formula E, +1:00.475s
10. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Faraday Future Dragon Racing, +1:12.659s
Driver standings (after Rd 10)
1. Sébastien Buemi, 157pts
2. Lucas di Grassi, 147pts
3. Felix Rosenqvist, 104pts
4. Sam Bird, 100pts
5. Nicolas Prost, 84pts
6. Nick Heidfeld, 78pts
7. Jean-Eric Vergne, 74pts
8. Jose Maria Lopez, 50pts
9, Daniel Abt, 47pts
10. Nelson Piquet Jr, 33pts
Team standings (after Rd 10)
1. Renault e.dams, 259pts
2. ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, 194pts
3. Mahindra Racing, 182pts
4. Virgin Racing, 153pts
5. TECHEETAH, 94pts
6. NEXTEV NIO, 59pts
7. Andretti Formula E, 30pts
8. Faraday Future Dragon Racing, 30pts
8. Andretti Formula E, 30pts
9. Venturi Formula E Team, 28pts
10. Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 21pts