Formula E New York: Jean-Eric Vergne takes title, di Grassi wins

Jean-Eric Vergne sealed the 2017/18 Formula E title with fifth place despite starting down the order in the opening race in New York, which was won by Lucas di Grassi

Formula E New York: Jean-Eric Vergne takes title, di Grassi wins

Vergne charged up the grid after being excluded from qualifying, while di Grassi also battled his way up from 11th to lead home Audi team-mate Daniel Abt in a one-two result for the German manufacturer.

Sam Bird finished ninth and therefore could not take the title fight down to Sunday's season finale.

At the start, polesitter Sebastien Buemi held the lead off the line and was followed by his Renault e.dams team-mate Nico Prost as Mitch Evans failed to accelerate way from second on the grid despite initially launching at the lights.

With Evans out with a suspected driveshaft failure, Abt followed Prost and took second on the second tour as Buemi controlled the early stages.

Vergne spent the opening laps at the very rear of the field as his Techeetah team-mate Andre Lotterer, also excluded from qualifying for the same software glitch, quickly made places up the order.

Abt stalked Buemi and then seized the lead on lap six of what would become a 43-tour event on the run to Turn 11 at the end of the Brooklyn Circuit's second straight.

Di Grassi was also steadily making his way up the order as Prost fell away from the podium places, with Venturi's Tom Dillmann subsequently running third.

Bird had moved into the points from his 14th place grid spot early on, but after the Techeetah drivers had saved energy in the early stages, they used their advantage to make a series of moves, with Vergne passing Bird for 10th place on lap 16.

By this stage, Di Grassi had risen to third place and set about catching Buemi, who had begun to fall away from Abt.

On lap 20, di Grassi seized second from Buemi on the run to the new-for-2018 Turn 6, with Abt holding a lead of over three seconds.

The field piled into the pits at the end of lap 22, with a slower stop costing Abt and allowing di Grassi to close in.

The Audi team-mates were suddenly nose-to-tail two laps later, just after they made contact at the flowing Turn 7/8 complex, di Grassi attacked and passed Abt for the lead approaching the big braking zone at Turn 11 with an aggressive move.

Abt fought back a few laps later before Audi appeared to order the pair to hold stations.

On lap 29, Vergne eased by Lotterer to move into the place that would guarantee him the title with Bird back in ninth.

The race was suspended on lap 35 when Bird's Virgin Racing team-mate Alex Lynn lost the rear of his car going through the rapid left of Turn 5 and hit the barriers on the outside of the corner in a big impact.

The safety car was called into action as a result, which bunched the field up and meant the race was capped at 45-minutes plus one lap.

The race resumed at the start of lap 40, with di Grassi easing clear of Abt and Buemi to win by 0.9s and claim his second victory in succession.

Bird had to pass Maro Engel and Prost in the final dash to flag and although he managed to pass the latter one lap after the Venturi driver had made a move for eighth, he could not make it into that position, which he needed to keep the title alive.

Dillmann finished fourth on his FE return in place of Edoardo Mortara, with Nick Heidfeld beating Lotterer to sixth.

Techeetah and Audi will resolve their battle for the teams standings in tomorrow's race, with the former holding a narrow advantage.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Lucas di Grassi Audi Audi 1h02m30.054s
2 Daniel Abt Audi Audi 0.965s
3 Sebastien Buemi e.dams Renault 2.583s
4 Tom Dillmann Venturi Venturi 4.090s
5 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah Renault 4.679s
6 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Mahindra 5.142s
7 Andre Lotterer Techeetah Renault 5.810s
8 Maro Engel Venturi Venturi 6.312s
9 Sam Bird Virgin DS Virgin 6.833s
10 Nicolas Prost e.dams Renault 8.389s
11 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti Andretti 9.114s
12 Stephane Sarrazin Andretti Andretti 13.242s
13 Jerome d'Ambrosio Dragon Penske 13.805s
14 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Mahindra 35.452s
15 Luca Filippi NIO NextEV NIO 1 Lap
- Alex Lynn Virgin DS Virgin Accident
- Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Penske Retirement
- Nelson Piquet Jr. Jaguar Jaguar Retirement
- Oliver Turvey NIO NextEV NIO Withdrawn
- Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar Halfshaft

Drivers ' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Jean-Eric Vergne 173
2 Sam Bird 142
3 Lucas di Grassi 126
4 Sebastien Buemi 110
5 Daniel Abt 104
6 Felix Rosenqvist 86
7 Andre Lotterer 62
8 Mitch Evans 60
9 Oliver Turvey 46
10 Nelson Piquet Jr. 45
11 Nick Heidfeld 38
12 Maro Engel 31
13 Edoardo Mortara 29
14 Jerome d'Ambrosio 27
15 Antonio Felix da Costa 20
16 Alex Lynn 17
17 Jose Maria Lopez 14
18 Tom Dillmann 12
19 Nicolas Prost 8
20 Tom Blomqvist 4
21 Luca Filippi 1
22 Stephane Sarrazin 0
23 Kamui Kobayashi 0
24 Ma Qinghua 0
25 Neel Jani 0

Teams' standings

Pos Team Points
1 Techeetah 235
2 Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 230
3 DS Virgin Racing 159
4 Mahindra Racing 124
5 Renault e.Dams 118
6 Panasonic Jaguar Racing 105
7 Venturi Formula E Team 72
8 NIO Formula E team 47
9 Dragon Racing 41
10 MS&AD Andretti Formula E 24


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