Maximilian Gunther has described his first Formula E victory as a ‘dream come true’.
The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver put in a brilliant qualifying performance to start on the front row of the grid in Santiago and despite falling to third he took the lead from Mitch Evans midway through the race.
Although he then fell behind the DS Techeetah of Antonio Felix da Costa late on, a move on the last lap of the race saw Gunther take the checkered flag and in doing so become the youngest ever winner in the series.
Speaking afterwards the German was ecstatic to have taken his first win.
“Today is a dream come true,” he said. “I am incredibly happy to take the first win of my Formula E career here in Santiago. Second place in qualifying was superb.
“Having not made a great start on the dirty side of the track, which cost me a position, we used ATTACK MODE very cleverly to allow me to take the lead.
“In the heat, it was also important to keep an eye on the temperature of the batteries. We did that really well.”
Speaking about his last lap move on Da Costa, Gunther described it as a ‘now or never’ move.
“On the final lap, António had to coast a little earlier than me on the straight. I thought to myself ‘now or never’ and went for the overtake. Fortunately, it came off.”
It was just the second race weekend for Gunther with BMW having been poached from GEOX Dragon Racing, and team boss Roger Griffiths was delighted with the start his new driver has made.
He also credited Gunther for bouncing back after having his podium finish in the last race stripped from him after a post-race time penalty.
“When he crossed the finish line, the celebrations in the garage were deafening,” said Griffiths.
“To have won two races in a row and lead the Team competition feels damn good. I am delighted for Max.
“After the disappointment in Diriyah, where he was subsequently denied second place after the race, he has done it this time and claimed his first win. Together with his race engineer, he drove a very clever race.”
It was a disappointing race for the other BMW car in Santiago however, as Alexander Sims retired from the race and lost the lead of the driver’s championship as a result.
While happy for his team-mate, the Brit said that the ‘hard’ midfield racing led to him damaging his car on one of the barriers.
Sims said, “The first laps of my race were pretty good. It was typical Formula E racing in the midfield; hard, but good.
“I then made slight contact with the wall, but damaged my car so severely that I had to retire from the race. As such, the result is obviously disappointing.”