Sam Bird successfully defended from Pascal Wehrlein to win the Santiago E-Prix on Saturday afternoon, scoring his first ABB FIA Formula E Championship win since Rome last season.
The Envision Virgin Racing driver was forced to nurse his Audi e-tron FE05 home with low energy levels on the final lap but benefitted from Wehrlein also slowing down to prevent overheating on his Mahindra M5Electro.
It continues Bird’s streak of winning at least one race in every Formula E season and moves him into the championship lead with a one-point advantage over Marrakesh winner Jerome d’Ambrosio.
D’Ambrosio finished eighth after a difficult weekend for the Belgian which saw him qualify near the back of the field on account of running in the disadvantaged first qualifying group.
His Mahindra Racing teammate Wehrlein held on to finish runner-up in his second Formula E race after using his attack mode to pressure Bird for the lead in the last six minutes.
Alexander Sims was set to make it two rookie drivers on the podium but was given a drive-through penalty converted to a post-race time penalty for causing a collision with Edoardo Mortara earlier in the race, dropping him back to eighth.
This brought Daniel Abt up to third position, making it two Audis on the podium, ahead of Mortara in fourth and Bird’s Envision Virgin teammate Robin Frijns completing the top five.
Sebastien Buemi led the race from pole position but crashed out from the lead during the second half when he locked up at the chicane.
He limped home to the pits in his Nissan IM01 but was forced to retire.
The E-Prix proved to be a race of attrition with only 14 of 22 cars finishing following a number of collisions and technical issues worsened by the weather conditions.
Antonio Felix da Costa, who won the opening race of the season in Ad Diriyah, and reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne were amongst the drivers who retired.
It was the hottest Formula E race ever, with ambient temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).
RESULTS: Santiago E-Prix