Vandoorne scores maiden Formula E Race at Home victory

Stoffel Vandoorne took the championship lead of the Formula E Race at Home Challenge series after securing his maiden race win in the sim racing series.

Mercedes’ Vandoorne took his fourth pole position of the season at the Brooklyn Street Circuit and finally converted pole into a race win, to end his victory drought following a run of three consecutive second-place finishes.

Vandoorne dominated the race after his rivals collided at the opening turn on the first lap at the New York E-Prix venue – host of the latest round of the series, which runs in partnership with Motorsport Games to support the UNICEF coronavirus relief effort.

Porsche’s Neel Jani divided down the inside of the left-hand opening hairpin and Jani collided with BMW driver Maximilian Gunther, who started from second place.

Gunther was sent spinning down to the back of the field, while Jani continued in second place but over three seconds behind race leader Vandoorne after just one lap.

Pascal Wehrlein, who led the championship prior to the round, qualified second but a five-place grid penalty for a collision in the previous race meant he started from seventh place.

He picked up damage in the opening lap chaos, but he was able to battle through the field and limit the damage to his championship aspirations.

With three laps to go, Wehrlein barged his way past Berlin winner Oliver Rowland to finish in second place.

Rowland secured his second-consecutive podium finish in third place ahead of current real-life Formula E championship leader Antonio Felix da Costa, who achieved his best result of the season so far in fourth place.

A half-spin on the final lap demoted Jani from fourth to fifth place, ahead of Jaguar drivers Mitch Evans and James Calado.

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Rowland’s Nissan e.dams teammate Sebastien Buemi was eighth ahead of NIO 333’s Oliver Turvey and Porsche’s Lotterer.

Two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne, who clinched both of his championships in New York, finished in 18th place and is still yet to score a point in the virtual series.

Vandoorne’s victory means Mercedes overhauls Mahindra at the top of the teams’ standings.

Kevin Siggy continued his domination of the Challenge Grid – the race featuring sim racers – with his third lights-to-flag race win of the season to extend his championship lead.

His championship rivals Petar Brljak and Lucas Mueller were caught up in an opening lap incident that dropped them to the back of the grid. They recovered to finish in 10th and 11th respectively.

German sim racer Jan von der Heyde took second place ahead of Porsche Esports drivers Joshua Rogers and F1 Esports ace Cem Bolukbasi.  

The final two rounds of the Formula E Race at Home Challenge series will take place next weekend and will be available to watch on Motorsport.tv.

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