Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne has been crowned as the 2018 Formula E Champion finishing fifth while Lucas di Grassi claimed victory in the first of two New York E-Prixs.
Vergne put together a comeback drive to come from 19th to fifth while his title rival, Sam Bird, could only muster a ninth-place finish. Vergne now possesses an unassailable lead going into tomorrow’s finale and becomes the fourth new champion in the fourth season of the series.
Bird struggled for pace during the whole race. His DS Virgin Racing team struggled with the lengthy nature of the race and meant Bird was unable to defend from Vergne when the two met on track.
Di Grassi, meanwhile, triumphed to take his second victory in as many races and lead home team-mate Daniel Abt to secure Audi’s second 1-2 after a late safety car. Di Grassi charged through the field having started in 11th.
Di Grassi and Abt almost came to blows after Di Grassi pulled an aggressive manoeuvre on his team-mate in order to take the lead of the race on lap 28. Both drivers were able to keep their cool and secure a result that takes the Audi team to a mere five points behind championship leaders Techeetah in the teams’ championship.
Sebastien Buemi rounded off the podium with a third-place finish for Renault e.dams. Buemi was unable to hold off the fast charging Audis, losing the race lead early on. However, he was able to hold off a late onslaught from Edoardo Mortara’s stand-in, Tom Dillmann, who came home in fourth for Venturi.
The late safety car was brought out after a hefty impact with the wall for Bird’s team-mate Alex Lynn. He spun on corner entry and slid backwards into the wall.
Lynn was not the only driver to retire. Mitch Evans’s race was over before it really began after a driveshaft issue caused him to retire after only a few metres. His Jaguar team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr encountered mechanical gremlins shortly after his pit-stop.
Both Dragon cars collided on lap 1, causing substantial damage to both cars after a strong qualifying. Both Jerome D’Ambrosio and Jose Maria Lopez had to make an extra stop and so finished outside the points.
Nick Heidfeld finished the race in sixth while Vergne’s team-mate, Andre Lotterer came home in seventh. Maro Engel of Venturi finished in eighth while the high starting Nicolas Prost rounded out the top ten.