Champion Vergne wins season finale as Audi claim teams title


Daniel Abt, Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler, New York City
Credit: Formula E Media Library

The 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship ended with season four Champion Jean-Eric Vergne utilising his lightening start to win the season finale at New York City while Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler sealed a double podium result to claim honours in the teams’ championship.

The race began with Jean-Eric Vergne getting a lightening start from the second row of the grid into the lead of the race to demote pole-man Sebastien Buemi at the first corner. However, Vergne’s Techeetah team-mate Andre Lotterer jumped the start which would result in a 10-second stop-go penalty despite the German losing a position to his team-mate. The subsequent penalty would prove significant in Techeetah’s battle with Audi as Lotterer fell down to 15th position.

In the opening stages Jose Maria Lopez broke his right-rear suspension on a kerb, moments before his Dragon Racing team-mate of Jerome d’ Ambrosio was taken out by Luca Filippi, who crashed with the Andretti of Antonio Felix Da Costa in the process. The result of the accident was a lengthy full-course yellow.

Up at the front, Di Grassi passed his arch-rival Buemi for second on lap 12 and with Daniel Abt passing the Swiss racer seven laps later, Audi were then in the positions they needed to win the teams’ championship. But following his penalty, Lotterer was on the move and the two Audi’s knew they needed to keep the heat on Vergne to secure the title.

After the final car swaps in ABB FIA Formula E history took place, the top four ran nose-to-tail; with Abt and Buemi swapping for third position several times before the German established his place as the final podium finisher.

This meant that the top two had created a bit of a gap with Di Grassi pressuring Vergne for the race lead, knowing that Lotterer would be on a charge. But the Frenchman showed why he was the season four champion and held off di Grassi by half a second to take his fourth win of the season.

Despite this, Audi still claimed the teams’ championship, with Lotterer only doing enough to fight back to ninth place, which gave the factory outfit the constructors championship by 2-points over Techeetah.

Elsewhere, Mahindra Racing secured fourth place with Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld both finishing in the points in fifth and eighth places respectively.

Panasonic Jaguar Racing also demonstrated their upturn in form by a double points finish for the British team in sixth and seventh positions.

However, Sam Bird came into this weekend dreaming of title aspirations, but left New York City in third place in the drivers’ championship with Lucas Di Grassi’s second to his tenth place finish meaning that the Brazilian racer stole second position in the drivers classification.

Things were even worse for Venturi with a double retirement for the Monegasque-based team with a drivetrain failure for Maro Engel and a hydraulics issue for Tom Dillmann.