Vergne takes back-to-back titles in New York

by Scott Douglas

Jean-Eric Vergne became the first man to retain the ABB FIA Formula E driver’s championship as he cruised to a seventh place finish in the second round of the New York ePrix.

The DS Techeetah driver held a comfortable twenty-two point lead going into the final race, with his main title rival Lucas di Grassi needing a win in order to challenge him.

Both qualified in the midfield, and Vergne seemed content to simply keep di Grassi in his sights as they made limited progress through the field.

But the title was confirmed for Vergne as the Brazilian collided with the only other man with a mathematical chance of the title, Mitch Evans, on the last lap – an incident that Evans was given a post-race penalty for.

The collision promoted Vergne to seventh, and confirmed the team’s championship for his DS Techeetah team after they narrowly missed out on last year’s title in the last race.

Speaking afterwards Vergne said, “I think I took ten years off my life this weekend. I had to be very aggressive at the start but it paid off, and then I monitored the situation between Mitch and Lucas in front.

“I feel very proud to be in this team, they’ve been fantastic to me this year. I’m so happy to have won it again.”

Out front Robin Frijns cruised to his second win of the season.

He was held up by polesitter Alexander Sims for the first half of the race, but after a last second lunge into the hairpin he managed to get past and left the BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver in his wake.

Sims was able to hold up the rest of the field however to take his first podium in the series, with Sebastien Buemi leading a train of cars who tried in vain to get past him.

Buemi’s podium meant that he took an unlikely second place in the driver’s standings, with Sam Bird finishing behind him as the Envision Virgin Racing team proved to be the class of the field.

Daniel Abt finished in fifth but with di Grassi crashing out it wasn’t enough to get the team’s title for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, even though Andre Lotterer retired early on after a clash with Jose Maria Lopez.

Equally Oliver Rowland finished in sixth but Nissan e.dams still lost out to Virgin Racing for third place in the team’s championship.

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