Bird victorious in inaugural New York ePrix

Sam Bird won the ninth round of the Formula E Championship in the New York on Saturday for his first victory of the season.

A safety car was brought out towards the end of the race and departed with two laps remaining, leading to a final frantic burst of racing.

Bird finished less than half a second clear of Vergne, with the Frenchman’s Techeetah team-mate Stephane Sarrazin crossing the line in third a further three tenths back for his first podium of the season.

Daniel Abt had looked on course for third but suffered disaster on the final lap and was passed by Sarrazin and his own team-mate Lucas di Grazzi.

Abt led from the start of the race after passing pole-sitter Alex Lynn off the line, while Bird jumped to third after getting ahead of Vergne.

On lap nine, Bird was eventually allowed to pass debutant Lynn, who would eventually retire, and six laps later the Englishman got the better of Abt too with an aggressive maneuver down the inside at Turn 1.

With Bird leading Vergne, Abt and Sarrazin following the mid-race car swaps, Di Grazzi eventually joined behind in fifth after Felix Rosenqvist locked up and spun into the barrier.

Rosenqvist’s eventual retirement was part of a double blow for Mahindra, with Nick Heidfeld also retiring with a broken right-rear.

It was Heidfeld’s misfortune that brought out the safety car, and when the battle resumed Bird was able to hold on very comfortably for the victory.

Abt slowed on the first corner of the final lap, promoting the Techeetah duo to second and third. The German would eventually finish down in 14th place.

That also allowed Di Grassi to grab fourth, cutting the absent Sebastien Buemi’s championship lead to 20 points.

Saturday’s race was only the first of a double-header in New York, with the second race taking place on Sunday.

Result

1 Sam Bird Virgin 52m29.275s
2 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah 52m30.629s
3 Stephane Sarrazin Techeetah 52m33.667s
4 Lucas di Grassi Abt 52m35.430s
5 Loic Duval Dragon 52m37.703s
6 Oliver Turvey NextEV 52m38.227s
7 Pierre Gasly e.dams 52m38.596s
8 Nicolas Prost e.dams 52m39.311s
9 Robin Frijns Andretti 52m40.294s
10 Adam Carroll Jaguar 52m41.348s
11 Nelson Piquet Jr. NextEV 52m42.252s
12 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti 52m42.616s
13 Tom Dillmann Venturi 52m45.612s
14 Daniel Abt ABT 51m27.073s
15 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 52m56.477s
– Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 40m07.941s
– Maro Engel Venturi 53m13.361s
– Alex Lynn Virgin 27m00.912s
– Jerome d’Ambrosio Dragon 52m05.775s
– Mitch Evans Jaguar 53m24.660s

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