Vergne avoids penalty to win in Sanya

by Tom Cairns
Jean-Eric Vergne - DS Techeetah at the 2019 Sanya E-Prix - Shakedown

Jean-Eric Vergne has avoided all the chaos to win a thrilling 2019 Sanya ePrix.

The reigning champion of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship had to wait until the half-way point to make the important move on pole-sitter Oliver Rowland to see the Frenchman take his first win of the season.

The event was full of incidents, beginning when Sam Bird who started the race in a lowly sixteenth was hit from behind by Stoffel Vandoorne on the opening lap, forcing the Brit to retire.

With over fifteen minutes of the race remaining, a collision between Andre Lotterer and Alexander Sims had sent the BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver into the wall and out of the race. This caused the safety car to come out before a red flag was necessary to allow time for Sims’ car to be cleared.

When the race got back underway approximately twenty-five minutes later, the drama did not stop. On the penultimate lap, a coming together between Edoardo Mortara and Robin Frijns had sent the Dutchman into Lucas di Grassi, forcing the Brazilian to retire and under investigation for leaving his car without permission from the Race Director.

At the end of the race, Vergne would win from Rowland and claim the extra point for the fastest lap, with Antonio Felix da Costa taking the final podium spot, but under investigation for not using both of his attack modes during the race. Lotterer came home in fourth to make it two DS Techeetah cars in the top four at their home ePrix.

Daniel Abt was fifth ahead of Sebastian Buemi who had made it back to sixth after starting from the pit lane due to a brake infringement in qualifying. The two Mahindra Racing cars of Jerome D’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein were seventh and eighth.

Mitch Evans and Edoardo Mortara completed the top ten points scorers. The result moves Jean-Eric Vergne up to third in the title race, eight points behind new championship leader da Costa. In the teams’s standings, DS Techeetah leapfrog Mahindra into third and are only two points behind Envision Virgin Racing, who failed to score for the first time this campaign.

The next ePrix will be the first European race of the season in Rome on the 13 April.

2019 Sanya E-Prix - Race Classification

125Jean-Eric VergneFRADS Techeetah1:02:50.185
222Oliver RowlandGBRNissan e.dams+1.762
328Antonio Felix da CostaPORBMW i Andretti Motorsport+3.268
436Andre LottererGERDS Techeetah+4.631
566Daniel AbtGERAudi Sport ABT Schaeffler+5.972
623Sebastien BuemiSWINissan e.dams+9.405
764Jerome D'AmbrosioBELMahindra Racing+17.340
894Pascal WehrleinGERMahindra Racing+18.367
920Mitch EvansNZLPanasonic Jaguar Racing+20.646
1048Edoardo MortaraSWIVenturi Formula E Team+22.208
1119Felipe MassaBRAVenturi Formula E Team+27.739
1216Oliver TurveyGBRNIO Formula E+31.453
138Tom DillmannFRANIO Formula E+32.654
144Robin FrijnsNEDEnvision Virgin Racing+1 lap
1511Lucas di GrassiBRAAudi Sport ABT Schaeffler+2 laps
DNF3Nelson Piquet Jr.BRAPanasonic Jaguar RacingNC
DNF27Alexander SimsGBRBMW i Andretti MotorsportNC
DNF17Gary PaffettGBRHWA RacelabNC
DNF7Jose Maria LopezARGGEOX Dragon RacingNC
DNF5Stoffel VandoorneBELHWA RacelabNC
DNF2Sam BirdGBREnvision Virgin RacingNC
DNF6Felipr NasrBRAGEOX Dragon RacingNC

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