Virgin Racing left the Punta del Este ePrix third in the Team Standings after Jaime Alguersuari produced his best race result of the season, fifth, while Putrajaya ePrix race winner Sam Bird endured a difficult weekend.
While not particularly quick in the first practice session, Alguersuari topped the second session and adapted quickly to the challenges of the coastal street circuit.
He continued his pace in qualifying. While Andretti’s Jean-Eric Vergne stunned with an astonishing lap time of 1min 15.408secs, Alguersuari was less than a second off Vergne and took fifth ahead of the race.
In the race, Alguersuari had to fend off a FanBoost loaded Nick Heidfeld. He lost his position early in the race when Heidfeld used the boost to overtake, but he did defend well from title contender and Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi, as he put the Spaniard under pressure looking to move ahead.
As Alguersuari pitted, he returned to the track in tenth position, losing five places in the process of changing into his second car. Despite losing over ten seconds, Alguersuari recovered to fifth but was unable to get past Trulli GP’s Jarno Trulli ahead of him at the checkered flag.
“I am happy to have earned myself and the Virgin Racing team points this weekend, and to keep the team in the top three of the Team Standings in the Championship after three races,” he said. I have enjoyed this race weekend in Punta del Este a lot, from finishing first in practice to qualifying in fifth and then finishing the race in fifth, but we still have a long way to go. This was a race that we had a strong chance of winning as we had the pace to do so, but we are always learning about the car and this Series.”
For his team-mate Sam Bird, the weekend was largely forgettable. Proving himself an able title contender alongside di Grassi, his mistake in qualifying put him on the back foot as his inability to set a lap time relegated him to the back of the grid. In the race, his lap four mistake saw him catch a kerb and collide with the wall, ending his day.
“This was not a great weekend for me,” he said. “Having experienced the track during the shakedown and practice, I really enjoyed being out there and getting good pace on the straights and maintaining speed coming out of the tight corners and so to crash in qualifying for a reason out of my control was disappointing. Starting from the back of the grid was always going to be difficult, but I admit I made a mistake entering the second corner of the fourth lap,” reflected Bird. “I should have missed the corner, but I decided to take it, made the wrong decision and hit the kerb.”