'Uneven, dusty, narrow track' was a challenge, says Renault Sport.
The Punta del Este ePrix saw a series of new marks in the FIA Formula E Championship for the fastest pole position lap, race lap and average speed. The Uruguayan circuit provided the drivers with a formidable challenge, combining an uneven, dusty and narrow track with the usual energy management issues. Sébastien Buemi proved to be the most skilled at dealing with the various elements, handing e.dams-Renault its first win of the season.
Three weeks after the Putrajaya ePrix in Malaysia, the FIA Formula E Championship drivers and teams arrived in Uruguay, one of the most environmentally-friendly countries, for the third round of the year.
Continuing to work on improving the cars, the Renault Sport teams discovered a new circuit and unprecedented challenges at Punta del Este, including a dusty track, many changes in road surface and high temperatures.
'Spectacular day's action'
The work done to achieve constantly-improving reliability, maximum safety and efficient performance levels meant that the Spark-Renault SRT01_E single-seaters were able to offer fans a spectacular day’s action in these challenging conditions, thanks to the car’s architecture supervised by Renault Sport.
The strength of the single-seaters was demonstrated when Jean-Éric Vergne (Andretti Autosport) secured the fastest pole position set so far in the new series (average speed of 134.1kph), despite clipping the wall during his pole lap.
When the lights went out, Nelson Piquet Jr (China Racing) surged past the former World Series by Renault driver, who then reclaimed the lead on lap thirteen. Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) and Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) then both overtook the Frenchman, but the German was penalised for failing to observe the minimum time in the pits when changing car. On the penultimate lap, Sébastien Buemi defended his lead from Jean-Éric Vergne, who was forced to retire.
The Swiss therefore secured e.dams-Renault’s first race win, meaning the outfit becomes the new leader of the teams’ championship. Nelson Piquet and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT), who still leads the drivers’ standings, joined him on the podium.
Next up is Argentina for the Buenos Aires ePrix on 10 January, 2015.
Eric Pasquier, Marketing Director, Renault Americas: “Uruguay is one of the most advanced countries on the American continent in terms of environmental policy. It therefore totally made sense to organise an ePrix in Punta del Este. This was the first ePrix in the Americas, ahead of Buenos Aires in January. Using the competition to promote electric vehicle technology offers us a unique opportunity and also enables us to demonstrate that Renault is a leader in this field, both on and off the track. Our importer in Uruguay, Santa Rosa, is very involved in promoting ZE vehicles. Thirty Kangoo ZEs were delivered to the national electricity company in July, and another agreement is currently under consideration. Throughout the region, the electric vehicle market is gradually taking off, with our models already being driven on the streets of Brazil, Chile and Colombia, to name but a few.”
1. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault) 31 laps
2. Nelson Piquet Jr (China Racing) +0.732
3. Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) +2.635
4. Jarno Trulli (Trulli) +4.163
5. Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin Racing) +4.698
6. Bruno Senna (Mahindra Racing) +5.197
7. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) +6.514
8. Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) +7.567
9. Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing) +8.646
10. Nick Heidfeld (Venturi) +10.563
Fastest lap: Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT) 1:18.451
1. Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT), 58 points
2. Sébastien Buemi (e.dams-Renault), 40
3. Sam Bird (Virgin Racing), 40
4. Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault), 24
5. Nelson Piquet Jr (China Racing), 22
6. Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing), 22
7. Franck Montagny (Andretti), 18
8. Karun Chandhok (Mahindra Racing), 18
9. Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin Racing), 14
10. Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing), 14
1. e.dams-Renault, 64 points
2. Audi Sport ABT, 62
3. Virgin Racing, 54
4. Dragon Racing, 36
5. Andretti, 33
6. Mahindra Racing, 26
7. China Racing, 22
8. Trulli, 12
9. Amlin Aguri, 6
10. Venturi, 3