Jean-Éric Vergne secured his first points for DS Virgin Racing as he claimed a valuable six points at the FIA Formula E Punta del Este ePrix.
Starting at the back of the grid after a hard qualifying session, which saw him blocked in sector three, the Frenchman made up ground on those ahead of him and headed into the halfway stage of the race having made up five places. After successfully winning the Fanboost vote, the 25-year old was able to use the extra 100KJ of power gained, following the changeover, to overtake Stephane Sarrazin on lap 26 and set his sights on Nelson Piquet Jr.
A scintillating battle ensued over the final half a dozen laps as Vergne went wheel-to-wheel with the Brazilian, before forcing a mistake to overtake on the penultimate lap. With Daniel Abt now in his sights, Vergne and his DSV-01 made up another position on the final lap to secure his first points finish with DS Virgin Racing.
Earlier in the race, having started from third on the grid, Sam Bird was looking like he would again be in contention for a strong points finish, quickly overtaking Loic Duval going into the first corner. A battery issue, however, after the changeover on Lap 19 saw his race cut short.
Like Vergne, the Briton also won Fanboost
The second time in three races this season and the first time in Formula E that both DS Virgin Racing drivers have been rewarded with the extra fan power.
Speaking about his race, Vergne said: “I’m really pleased with my race and don’t think it could have gone much better after starting at the back of the grid. I drove hard and had a lot of fun with what was in front of me. It was a great effort from the team. I’d also like to say a special thank you to all the fans that helped me win Fanboost, which made a real difference during the race.”
Bird was also positive about his performance: “In the first half of the race, things felt really good and it was going really well. We showed a good turn of pace and I think there’s lots of positive signs to suggest that we can be challenging again in Buenos Aires. Like in Malaysia, I must give a lot of credit to the team, who put in a huge amount of work to repair the car between free practice one and the race after I hit the wall.”
DS Virgin Racing Team Principal, Alex Tai, added: “JEV drove a great race out there and we’re delighted that he’s got his first points for the team. We’ve shown good pace again this weekend and proved that we can be competing for big points. I must also thanks the fans for their fantastic support that we’ve received here in Punta and say thank you to everyone that voted for our drivers in Fanboost.”
The team now head straight into a day of testing here in Punta, before moving on to Buenos Aires for Round Four of the FIA Formula E Championship on 6th February 2016.
DS Virgin Racing